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Trades Union Congress

Trades Union Congress. At an early stage of trade union development, the idea of a co-ordinating body emerged and in 1834 the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union was founded. It attracted many members but few funds, and the secretary absconded with what there were. It lasted less than a year. But during the next three decades there was a substantial growth of trade union membership, particularly in the skilled trades. The Amalgamated Society of Engineers was founded in 1851, the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters in 1860, together with a Glasgow trades council 1858 and a London trades council 1860. In 1868 a meeting of 34 delegates in Manchester resolved that annual meetings were desirable, though no machinery was devised. The new organization set up a parliamentary committee in 1871 to lobby on legislation. In 1900 a Labour Representation Committee was established—the forerunner of the Labour Party in 1906. The Scottish TUC was founded in 1897. By 1893 there were more than a million trade unionists affiliated to the TUC, 6 million by 1920, and 12 million by 1979, after which membership went into marked decline. The electoral difficulties of the Labour Party after 1979 caused its relationship to the TUC to be constantly reassessed.

J. A. Cannon

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Trades Union Congress

Trades Union Congress (TUC) Permanent association of UK trade unions. The TUC was founded (1868) to promote trade union principles. Each year, it holds an annual assembly of delegates who discuss common problems. Today, the TUC has c.8 million members.

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