Topic Tuesday ~ More Thoughts on Trade Unions

0 thoughts on “Topic Tuesday ~ More Thoughts on Trade Unions”

  1. Dear Bee I know I am late to the party with this comment but I can only snatch a few minutes here and there theses days to blog! No doubt as I have only just opened my computer the hubby will return with his Mum, 96 yrs and his Aunt 92 yrs ! we have them for the day!

    Now what I really want to say is. My father was a union man all through his working life and he took it very seriously. He was a member of the NUVB The nation Union of Vehicile Builders here is a wiki link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Union_of_Vehicle_Builders .

    He was a shop steward and his youth he was working at Morris Cowley Oxford . There was trouble about conditions and pay and he was busy in negotiations with management. To cut a long story short he was talking the men into going out on strike when he received a letter telling him he needed to stop the strike as the firm intended to bring in Black Leg labour from Ireland and sack any man out on strike. My dad was sent this information in confidence and told he could not disclose the reason for abandoning the strike. Somehow he managed to talk the men back round to not striking. All this happened in the 1930s and I have only given you the bare bones of the story.
    My dad was a young Irish immigrant and while he was in Oxford he met my Mum who was an English protestant from a well to do family. She even owned her own hairdressing salon. You can imagine the stir their marriage caused.

    They moved to London and had a family …. I was the youngest of a long line . Dad worked for London Transport for the rest of his working days as a body maker, upholstering the seats on Buses and Tubes. He was a union man all his life. He was a shop steward, and a Trades Union Congress delegate. Most of our summer holidays were worked around whichever seaside resort the annual congress was being held at. Dad at the meetings all day while Mum made sure we had fun on the sands or the parks …or kept dry when it rained … this is England.

    There was always a steady stream of men visiting my Dad of an evening , the front room ( the dining room) of our council house was Dad’s Office and we all knew not to disturb him when he was busy, typing letters for people or sitting face to face with them discussing their union problems. I remember well, knocking on the door to say night night to Dad and seeing one or two strangers sat in the small room, it was a common occurrence.

    Most nights he worked late but every morning he was up at 5am to have his porridge then he would catch the works bus which came by at 6am to take him to Aldenham where he worked on the Buses and Tubes. here is anther link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldenham_Works
    He was home around 5.30pm he listened to the 6pm news then had his dinner the after all was cleared away he started his union work.

    There were pluses he and Mum used to go to into the city (we lived in the London suburbs) to Congress House for a dinner Dance. I always thought my Mum look like a queen all dress up, a sight we did not often see.

    When Dad retired, on his last day at work he was escorted from the factory by colleagues, walking the length of the factory floor accompanied to the sound of every worker banging hammers or whatever they had to hand a testament to what they thought of him. After his retirement Dad continued to help people as a union rep until he had a stroke and could no longer do anything to help anyone least of all himself.

    My Dad must of helped so many people and I am so very proud of him . I did not mean to go on so but your posts on the unions have brought a lot of my dad back to me thirty yeas after his death!

    here is a poem I wrote about my Dad. https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/a-quiet-man-3/

    and for good measure my Mum https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/gentle-she-was-2/

    I did not mean to go on so , I hope this is not boring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Willow, thank you so much for sharing your memories. It is your father and all the others that have fought for our rights at work and I believe we cannot let that just slip away just because we are too lazy or to greedy to join the union! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post!

      Liked by 1 person

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