People’s March for Jobs, 1981

People's March for Jobs, 1981

People's March for Jobs, 1981

With unemployment now rising fast once again, this is a badge which will stir some rather pointed memories of the recession of the early 1980s.

The People’s March for Jobs set off from Liverpool on 1 May 1981 to draw attention to the plight of the unemployed. Every day, thousands of supporters joined the core 500 marchers, culminating in a rally at Brockwell Park in south London on 30 May. 

The march was organised by the North West, West Midlands and South East regions of the TUC, and consciously drew on the hunger marches of the 1930s.

During the march, Labour MP David Winnick drew attention to the plight of those who were without work, pointing out that 6,000 people were joining the dole queues every day while 400,000 had been out of work for more than 12 months.

Unemployment continued to be a major economic problem, blighting people’s lives for years to come. A second People’s March for Jobs took place in 1983. On their arrival in London, the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher refused to meet a deputation.


TUC 1926 general strike newspaper

The British Worker - TUC general strike newspaper 1926. 

The British Worker - TUC general strike newspaper 1926.

The Trade Union Badge Collectors Society also includes collectors of other trade union ephemera –membership cards, commemorative plates, posters and leaflets…

This rather sad memento of the 1926 general strike is the 13 May edition of The British Worker, announcing the TUC General Council’s decision to end the strike and organise a return to work. Despite its upbeat tone, the strike had ended in defeat for the miners and disaster for the trade union movement.

The British Worker was launched by the TUC at the beginning of the strike and printed on the presses of the Daily Herald. This particular paper was the eighth in the run. There would in total be 11 before publication ceased on 17 May 1926, with circulation peaking at half a million.

Further examples of the paper can be seen on the Union Makes Us Strong trade union history website.

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How the TUC badge is produced

The Trades Union Congress has a long tradition of producing badges for delegates to its annual congress.

The earliest known surviving example dates to 1901, and can be found in Unison’s trade union badge collection, although the Amalgamated Society of Engineers produced a badge of its own for TUC delegates back in 1893.

The Trade Union Badge Collectors Society spoke to Keith Faulkner, Senior Events Officer at the TUC and the man responsible for producing each year’s new badge, about how he approaches the task.

Clive Jenkins' badge for TUC 1988.

Clive Jenkins' choice of badge for TUC 1988.

TUBCS: How did you come to be the person responsible for the annual Congress badge – presumably it’s not the whole of the day job?

Keith Faulkner: Back in 1988, when Clive Jenkins was President and General Secretary of MSF (Manufacturing Science Finance), he wanted something other than the standard badge, as produced over many years.  As the TUC’s in-house designer at that time, I was asked to liaise with his office and the manufacturers to ensure the result was achievable. Ever since, I have been the person responsible for the badge, as one very small part of my current job as Senior Events Officer.

TUBCS: Tell us a bit about how each year’s badge is developed? In recent years each has had its own theme. What part does the incoming president play in developing the theme and the design?
Keith Faulkner: Clive “broke the mould”, and in many but not all years the President has wanted something more – as shown by John Edmonds (1988), Hector MacKenzie (1999), Tony Young (2002) and Nigel de Gruchy (2003), when the Congress slogan was also adopted. In many other years, the President has wanted their own personal preferences included, as Rita Donaghy (2000), Bill Morris (2001), Roger Lyons (2004) and Jeannie Drake (2005).  But equally, some Presidents have adopted a more straight forward approach as Leif Mills (1995) and Tony Dubbins (1999). 

TUBCS: Who actually designs the badge, and how does the design get translated into the solid piece of metal art that delegates receive?
Keith Faulkner: The normal process these days is that the President is asked what overall approach is desired, and previous examples and basic layout approaches provided for their consideration. Once an approach/theme has been decided, further layouts are developed until such time as the President is happy. The badge manufacturer – currently the very excellent Badges Plus of Birmingham – then takes the basic black and white artwork and uses this to make the mould from which the basic badge is made, and then in-fills any colour and adds an appropriate “pin”.

TUBCS: Do you get any feedback from people when they see a new badge?
Keith Faulkner: The badges are normally only seen around the Saturday lunchtime two days prior to Congress; so immediate responses are rarely given because the President is already by then heavily involved in the processes of Congress itself. However, comments are usually made in the following couple of days.

TUBCS:  There is a long tradition of Congress badges going back over a hundred years, including a porcelain badge to mark the 1905 Congress which took place in the Potteries. Have you ever looked back at some of the early designs, for inspiration or just out of curiosity?    
Keith Faulkner: The developing design(s) are certainly of interest out of curiosity but, due to different materials and production methods and the desire of Presidents to have a punchy slogan, inspiration is not a reason to look back.

TUBCS: What do you have in mind for 2009?
Keith Faulkner: Consideration will probably not begin until around May for the Congress 2009 badge when the current President – Sheila Bearcroft of the GMB – will be contacted and the process started again.

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Association of Women Clerical Staff

Badge of the Association of Women Clerical Staff.

Badge of the Association of Women Clerical Staff.

Founded in April 1903 with just 64 members, and originally known as the Association of Shorthand Writers and Typists, the union’s first president was the Fabian intellectual and trade union historian Sydney Webb.

It became the Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries in 1912, and from that point on organised only women workers. Its badge shows not a penguin as it might appear but an auk – the union’s name being abbreviated to AWCS.

Though never large, the union survived until 1941, when it amalgamated with the Clerical and Administrative Workers Union. In 1972, it became the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer Staff or APEX (and has since 1989 been part of the GMB).

One of the AWCS’ leading members, Anne Godwin (1897-1992), who had become general secretary of the CAWU in the 1950s, became only the third woman president of the Trades Union Congress, serving in 1961-62, shortly before her retirement.

The union’s surviving records can be found in the Working Class Movement Library.

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TUC UnionReps badge 2008

TUC Union Reps badge
TUC Union Reps badge

The TUC has produced a badge for trade union reps who sign up for its new UnionReps website.

The badge was produced in spring 2008 with a limited run, and is currently available only to union activists who sign up to the online community site and request it, although a few have been handed out at TUC fringe meetings.

The badge is not currently available through the TUC shop.

The UnionReps site is built by reps and for reps, with lots of people putting in some serious effort to help out their fellow reps (and get helped in return). The network is very active, but it still only has maybe 5% or 6% of the reps who are out there. The badge aims to give reps a thank you for all the hard work they put into the site, letting them identify themselves as online reps if they want, and helping to advertise membership of the network to other reps.

The UnionReps badge is 30mm x 20mm, chrome/orange, with the TUC logo and the text “UNIONREPS.ORG.UK” on the front, and the name of the manufacturer, Badges Plus, on the reverse.

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TUC 2008 – the new badge

TUC 2008 delegates badge.

TUC 2008 delegates badge.

This is the badge issued by the TUC to delegates to the 2008 Congress, which took place in the Brighton Centre from 8 to 11 September.

The badge is 35mm x 35mm square, chrome/cream, with the TUC logo and the words “Fair pay for all” picked out of the chrome background in red. On the white rectangle are the words “Dave Prentis, President, Congress 2008, Brighton”.

The reverse has the name of the manufacturer, Badges Plus, and the telephone number     0121 236 1612    .

There is further information about Congress 2008 on the TUC website.

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