H&P's Trade Union and Employment Forum meets several times a year, bringing together trade unionists with professional historians and other interested groups. It considers trade union issues against their historical background, exploring different perspectives on the past and the present in order to suggest new lines of policy for the future.
Its regular meetings have covered such themes as: political funding and relations with the main political parties; attitudes towards the European Union; democracy in the workplace; and apprenticeship and training. It has also organised higher-profile events to mark the anniversaries of pivotal moments, such as the 1986 Wapping dispute in the printing industry, and the 1984 miners’ strike. When the opportunity presents itself, the Forum works in partnership with other organizations, including a session at the Unions 21 annual conference and a fringe event at the Trades Union Congress.
We are always keen to hear from potential participants, co-organizers and sponsors. If you or your organization would like to be involved, please contact one of the Management Committee.
Dr Alastair Reid, of Girton College, Cambridge, revisited the years when the Liberals and the unions worked closely together. Baroness Susan Kramer, formerly Liberal MP for Richmond Park and Shadow Transport Secretary, offered reflections on relations between the Liberal Democrats and trade unions today.
Professor Andrew Thorpe, of Exeter University, and Billy Hayes, General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union, examined key aspects of the Labour Party's relationship with the trade unions.
H&P consultant historian Rupert Griffin outlined the progress of his research for H&P's Trade Union Education Project, as well as a proposed model for involving historians in union research projects and membership development.
The Wapping dispute was and is intensely controversial. The Trade Union Forum brought together Tony Burke (Unite), Baroness Dean (SOGAT), Tricia Dawson (University of Westminster) and Greg Neale (former refusenik journalist) to discuss the printers' strike.
Dr Pete Dorey described a major shift in Conservative approaches to the unions from conciliation 1945-64 to confrontation 1975-90, while Richard Balfe suggested that under David Cameron the Conservatives were moving back towards conciliation, which could have advantages for both sides.
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H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.
We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.