Upward trend – the “green shoots” for the Trade Union movement

What am I doing here?

I’m supposed to be (inter alia):

  1. packing for weekend away
  2. tidying house
  3. phoning my sister (sorry Bex)
  4. ironing
  5. developing my business 
  6. etc etc etc…

In fact I have spent the last half hour scrabbling around in the loft.  My husband has become used to these whimsical missions of mine over the years but even he is shaking his head tonight.

TUC Congress HouseThe reason for my frantic loft mission?  Prompted by the news today that Union membership is on the increase, I decided to stop crapping on about my undergraduate dissertation and actually go and find it:


I was fortunate to be introduced to Frances O’Grady, now the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, in 1997 (by Simon Braunholtz, the then Director of the Political Team at MORI for whom I worked on my placement year, now IpsosMori).

That year, Frances had recently (not sure of the exact timings) been appointed to head up the TUC’s New Unionism Campaign.  I was invited to visit the TUC Head Office to interview her about the challenges faced by the Union movement. Union membership had fallen year on year for 18 consecutive years by that point, but nevertheless, I was blown away by her energy and enthusiasm for the cause.

She allowed me to tape the interview – heaven only knows where that tape went but I painstakingly replicated her words in my dissertation.

The project was a turning point for me in a personal sense. My dissertation had


been my nemesis for most of my final year, and getting this qualitative angle on the research based material I already had, was fundamental to me getting a decent mark and getting the degree I wanted.

I think we’ve both been quite busy, Frances O’Grady and me, over the last 16 years.  But WOW.  Frances, I salute you, I thank you. And if you ever read this, I’d love to reconvene sometime.


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