Bristol Trades Union Council celebrates International Workers Day – May Day 2022

Bristol Trades Council was pleased to celebrate with their traditional May Day March and rally today.

Messages in solidarity were brought to workers across Britain and internationally from the Trades Council, Unite Bristol Area Community Branch 001500, Bristol NEU, NEU Bristol and South Glos Young Educator Network, Unite Retired branch, Bristol UNISON, South Glos Unison, University of Bristol Unison, Unite Housing branch, NUJ, USDAW, socialist groups and activists.

The speeches were ended with a rallying cry from Bristol Trades Council President, Sheila Caffrey, “We need active, fighting, democratic unions that will take on the bosses, companies, councils and the government to make the changes we need. So, all workers should be in a union, therefore, if you’re not in one- make the decision to fight today and join one. If you are in one, make the decision today, to step up and campaign harder and louder. If you already fight hard and loud, then join Bristol Trades Council and help us link these campaigns to ensure we win!”

Solidarity! Workers of the world unite!

Bristol Trades Union Council observes Workers Memorial Day

Bristol Trades Council stood shoulder to shoulder with workers and colleagues in GMB Wales & South West, PCS South West regional group, RMT Bristol Branch, Unite Bristol Area Community Branch 001500 , Thompsons Solicitors, TUC South West, the NUJ, USDAW, Unite Retired Branch, the £15 now campaign and other activists for Workers Memorial Day on Thursday 28 April, mourning our colleagues who have died in work or due to a workplace injury,

Moving speeches about those who have lost their lives due to workplace negligence were shared, along with the wreath-laying.

But why should we, the workers, be made to pay for lack of safety and protection at work?

We must mourn those who have died, but to really honour their legacy, we must agitate, organise and build the trade union movement so it protects all future generations of workers from harm.

International Women’s Day 2022

Bristol Trades Union Council celebrates International Women’s Day and sends greetings to sisters everywhere. We continue to place equality at the heart of our work.

Bristol Trades Union Council is supporting the Bristol Women’s Voice International Women’s Day event

Saturday 5th March 2022,

10.30am – 4.00pm

Bristol City Hall, College Green,

Bristol, BS1 5TR

For more information visit the Bristol Women’s Voice website.

In 2022 Women’s Pay Day – the day when the average woman starts getting paid compared to the average man – was Friday 25th February 2022.

Even in jobs that tend to be dominated by female workers like education and social care the gender pay gap persists.

In these sectors women get paid much less per hour on average than men, both because they are more likely to be in part-time jobs or are in lower-paid roles.

The longest wait for Women’s Pay Day comes in finance and insurance. The gender pay gap is the equivalent of 118 days, meaning it’s nearly a third of the year before Women’s Pay Day finally kicks in on 27th April 2022.

In some parts of the country gender pay gaps are even bigger, so their Women’s Pay Day is later in the year. Women in the south west Women’s Pay Day is 1st March 2022.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s shocking that working women still don’t have pay parity. At current rates of progress, it will take nearly 30 more years to close the gender pay gap.

“It’s clear that just publishing gender pay gaps isn’t enough. Companies must be required to explain what steps they’ll take to close their gender pay gaps – and bosses who don’t comply with the law should be fined.

“The last two years have shown us that employers can do more to help women balance caring responsibilities and work. Flexible working is vital to mums keeping their jobs and progressing at work and is our best chance of closing the gender pay gap.

“All jobs must be advertised with the possible flexible options clearly stated, and all workers must have the legal right to work flexibly from their first day in a job.”

Frances added: “The gender pay gap widens dramatically once women become mums. We need more funding for affordable, good quality childcare to support working parents – along with better wages and recognition for childcare workers.

“And both parents need to be able to share childcare more easily. Without better rights to well-paid leave, mums will continue to take on the lion-share of caring responsibilities – and continue to take a financial hit.

“We need a complete overhaul of the shared parental leave system. It’s not an affordable option for most working families. Dads need leave they can take in their own right. It shouldn’t rely on mums giving up some of their maternity leave.”

Supported by Bristol TUC

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Bristol – SOS NHS


This will be the hardest winter ever in health and social care. We must act to safeguard services for patients and service users, boost staff morale and tackle the mental health crisis among health and care staff. Emergency funds must be secured now to avert disaster.

We must repair crumbling hospitals; restore NHS beds, recruit, retain, train and properly pay health and care staff; rebuild un­derfunded public health and GP services struggling to respond effectively to Covid; publicly fund a service for care and inde­pendent living support; and much more. The Health and Care Bill does none of these things. We need new legislation to secure a fully public NHS and end privatisation.

Saturday 26th Feb
12noon – 2pm
Bristol Centre (by the fountains)

Full details for the day can be found at Bristol SOS NHS

Supported by Bristol TUC

Unless explicitly stated otherwise any commercial advertisements appearing on this page aren’t endorsed or supported by Bristol Trades Union Council.

Cry of the Poor

Pamphlet "Cry of the Poor"

Reviewed by Keith Evans for Bristol Trades Union Council

Cry of the Poor “being a Letter from Sixteen Working Men of Bristol to the Sixteen Aldermen of the City”

First published by
W. And F. Morgan, Bristol, 1871.

This 2021 edition is published by Bristol Radical History Group with an afterword by Trish Mensah, Ian Wright and Barbara Segal. ISBN: 978-1-911522-61-4

Available from:
Bristol Radical History Group

The reprinted letter in the pamphlet and the commentary by the Bristol Radical History group forms a concise and easily accessible case history on the topic of municipal social reform. A line from the final paragraph of “Final Thoughts” by group members Trish Mensah, Barbara Segal and Ian Wright offers a central conclusion, or lesson, to be drawn. “The current situation in Bristol, as elsewhere, is a salutary reminder that even when improvements in workers’ quality of life have been won, they can’t be taken be taken for granted.”

At the time of the letter itself there were generally sixteen aldermen in the council who wielded considerable power and were overwhelmingly Conservatives. The sixteen working mens’ letter sets out six demands that the writers considered necessary to alleviate the poor living conditions of the labouring classes in Bristol – clean air, free public parks, swimming pools, no tolls for using bridges, public libraries and a fish market. The last demand actually encompassing better facilities for obtaining food generally.

The letter is carefully crafted. Underlying its six demands are found unfavourable comparisons such as Bristol lagging behind other cities of lesser antiquity in implementing reforming acts of parliament, as in the plea for purer air “ There is an act for the Consumption of Smoke made by factories: we call upon you to enforce it without respect to persons, this is done effectually in London and elsewhere – let it be done in Bristol”. (The acts granting powers for welfare and social reform are detailed in the Radical History Groups Afterword.) Again, under parks, the letter refers to the parks existing in towns in the north “ most of which were mere villages when Bristol was a famous sea port”

In its final paragraphs the letter is more forthright in its complaints, particularly around the inequality in benefits from contributions to rates and taxes of the city. Whether there were exactly sixteen workmen to match the number of aldermen or not, we find in the complaints a comparison of the lives of each class. “you can … do much to lessen and to remedy the evils under which we labour … we should no longer grudge you your beautiful houses … or grumble so much at having to pay such a large part of the £300,000 you are spending to bring your big ships up the river …”, the last point being a reference to the typically Bristolian saga of the debate on “dockisation” of the Avon, still very much raging and concerning ratepayers and councillors in 1871.

The history group’s writers, in describing the effects of the letter, report the length of time it took to acheive the desired gains, writing “However, apart from a brief period in the 1870s, working class militancy , with its more organised threat to middle class privilege , did not emerge until the late 1880s “ and in the pamphlet’s Afterword they refer to the increasing trades union membership between the early 1850s and 1874.

Bristol Trades Council was established in 1873. Research for my dissertation Social Reform and Welfare Issues in Bristol Municipal Elections 1885 -1914 found Frank Sheppard, the prominent Socialist and Labour councillor, rueing “what could be achieved if the electorate was to show the same interest in the local elections as it did in general elections”. For Labour the factor which swung the [municipal] votes to that party was industrial unrest. A struggle with employers, whether successful or unsuccessful, brought together assemblies of trade union members and enabled the trade union leaders and Labour candidates (sometimes the same people) to use the platform to get across to the workers the political message that representation on the city council could affect pay and conditions across the district. After the city’s extension, which took in wards in the working class east , the establishment of a solid electoral base was enabled in which the interests of the classes who had need for improvement in their conditions were likely to be advanced as issues in municipal elections.

The Cry of the Poor is a valuable text; concise, informative and timely in its lesson around the unsatisfactory situation around health and welfare which exists 150 years after original calls were made on behalf of the working class. As the Radical History Group writers say “This account has shown that progressive change requires both time and persistence.”

Reviewed by Keith Evans : UNITE Retired Members Branch delegate to Bristol Trades Union Council.

Strike action at University of Bristol

The University of Bristol will be hit with three days of strike action from Wednesday 1st December 2021 to Friday 3rd December 2021 organised by the University and College Union (UCU). Full details of the strike and background to the Pension and pay dispute can be found here.

The UCU members are demanding that their employers take decisive, meaningful, national action to close gender, close gender, ethnicity, and disability pay gaps and reduce workloads and casual employment of lecturers, researchers, librarians, and student support staff and revoking the retirement-altering deep cuts to their pension scheme the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The UCU members will also be taking action short of a strike, starting with working to contract, from 1st December 2021.

DO ALL YOU CAN TO SUPPORT. Turn up on picket lines, send messages of support and contribute to the fighting fund. We’ve heard that the Bristol Unite GPM&IT branch has donated £200, can other branches in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire area match that?

The UCU will be picketing from 08:30 on Wednesday 1st December 2021. School and Department picket locations and details as regards the Thursday and Friday strike days are available from the UCU.

Supported by Bristol
Trades Union Council

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Bristol March for Jobs


Sat. 30 October 2021


College Green, Bristol

Support Unemployed Workers
Defend Jobs and Services

The number of claimants for work-related Universal Credit has more than doubled since March. The Office for National Statistics estimates that there are 3.4 million people actively seeking work. A large proportion of furloughed workers will not return to work. This will affect those who keep their jobs as well, as bosses attack our pay, hours, workloads and contractual rights. Unemployment is a product of the capitalist system which can only produce for profit, leaving millions idle while we need hospitals, schools, houses and a green new deal.

Join us at College Green as we rally to defend our jobs and services and deliver a petition of demands to Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, and Bristol City Council, as follows:

1) Not to cut any local authority jobs, lower local authority workers’ terms and conditions, or cut any services.

2) To provide resources, including premises, for the support and organisation of unemployed workers.

3) To launch a campaign with local trade unions calling on the government to provide jobs for all.

Organised by the Bristol Unemployed Workers’ Centre follow them on facebook

More details of the march and rally
can be found at Bristol March for Jobs

Supported by Bristol

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Global Day for Climate Justice

March For The Climate
Sat. 6th November ’21
Assemble at 12 noon
College Green, Bristol

join the trade union block by the Queen Victoria statue

  1. The climate emergency is here and now, exacerbating extreme weather events across the globe including heat waves, wildfires, floods and hurricanes. People are already suffering and dying as a result.
  2. In the face of this challenge we call for a “just transition” that seeks to ensure that the substantial benefits of a green economy transition are shared widely, while also supporting those who stand to lose economically – be they countries, regions, industries, communities, workers or consumers.
  3. The 26th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP26), taking place in Glasgow during early November 2021, is crucial for the global response to climate change. The decisions made at COP26 will shape how governments respond (or not) to the climate crisis.
  4. Trade unions need to exert maximum pressure on the conference so that COP26 shows leadership and agrees a fast, fair and a just transition.
  5. Add your voice and feet to the march by joining the trade union bloc.

Download these flyers/posters for your work colleagues –

A3 global justice day poster
A4 global justice day poster
A5 global justice day flyer

For more information
Read the COP26 briefing paper
Host Contact Info:
Facebook: Bristol COP26 Demonstration 6th November
Resources to get your union branch onboard: We make tomorrow

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The NHS Bill and “Integrated Care Systems”: Why we should be worried

Tuesday 21st September 2021

Bristol Protect Our NHS are hosting a Zoom meeting
for a briefing and discussion on the Health and Care Bill (aka the NHS Bill). Guest speaker

Caroline Bedale

Who is a retired NHS worker and UNISON activist, and active in
Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) and in the Socialist Health Association.

Unless we act, next April the NHS as we know it will be abolished. It will be replaced by more than 40 local boards which will eventually be controlled by the private sector – including US health corporations – with little democratic accountability or local authority influence.

For NHS staff the new Bill promotes more flexible working, professional deregulation, and more localised pay, terms and conditions…. But the Bill once enacted will mean more patients being forced to go private as public health services face further decline and increasing pressures.

This is an online event via Zoom. The meeting room will be open from 7:00pm.
Click below to register

NHS Bill and “Integrated Care Systems”: Why we should be worried meeting

Unless explicitly stated otherwise any commercial advertisements appearing on this page aren’t endorsed or supported by Bristol Trades Union Council.