UnionDues podcast: putting education at the heart of our movement

The latest UnionDues podcast features a vital discussion with the General Secretary of the General Federation of Trade Unions, Gawain Little.

15 Jan 2024| News

Until last Easter, Gawain Little was a primary school teacher – how has he made the transition into a senior full time role in the trade union movement, and what are the differences (and similarities!) between his old life and the one he lives now?  The story of this journey is fascinating.

As the GFTU contemplates it’s 125th birthday, trade union education is uppermost in Gawain’s mind.  You can find out more about the huge range of courses offered by the GFTU Educational Trust,  and how to access them, here.

In the course of our conversation, Gawain and I travelled through time and space – from the days of “Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher”,  the Liverpool riots of the early 1980s and the introduction of tuition fees for higher education.  Gawain talks about the influence of these events on his own world-view.  Organisations that have loomed large on his journey include Trades Councils, the Woodcraft Folk and the National Education Union, on whose Executive Committee he sat. (And for our US readers, Year 3 in the UK education system is 2nd grade),

Gawain’s reference to “AR21s” is the pro forma all trade unions have to submit annually to the Government Certification Officer.  These are something of a chore to complete, but the snapshot of union activity and finances makes for a great research tool.

Organise Now is the brainchild of the StrikeMap team (and our podcast featuring Rob and Henry is here) and the BFAWU.  More about the tie up between GFTU and SOAS (part of the University of London) and Prof. Costas Lapavitsas is here.

Glasgow University’s Professor of Work and Employment, Melanie Simms also has education on her mind as she ponders new academic new work on understanding the importance of effective employment law, in her #thought4theweek

The work in question is Democracy At Work – Contract, status and post industrial justice, by Ruth Dukes and Wolfgang Streeck and is available in paperback from £15.69 from a variety of on line retailers.

You can listen here.

Access all episodes at bit.ly/DuesUnion

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