Forming New Unions

An opportunity for historians with an interest in questions relating to organised labour to engage with union activists. The session will have a particular focus on the formation of new unions.

Tuesday17 January 2017 6pm to 8pm
Dreyfus Room, Birkbeck, 26 Russell Square, London

History Acts workshops are led by activists, who give a short talk or presentation about their work. Historians working on a relevant topic will then respond, before opening it up to group discussion.

Our Panel

Petros Elia, General Secretary, United Voices of the World Union
United Voices of the World Union is a grassroots, member-led, trade union that supports some of the most oppressed and unrepresented groups of predominantly migrant workers in the UK and takes on some of the most unscrupulous employers.

Henry Chango Lopez, President of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain
Independent Workers Union of Great Britain is a small, independent trade union, whose members are predominantly low paid migrant workers in London. The union was founded in 2012. The IWGB is a campaigning union, which has waged a number of high profile campaigns such as for the London Living Wage at the Royal Opera House and at John Lewis, and the 3 Cosas Campaign (sick pay, holidays, and pensions) at the University of London.

Professor Ralph Darlington Professor of Employment Relations, University of Salford. His main research is concerned with the dynamics of trade union organisation, activity and consciousness in Britain and internationally within both contemporary and historical settings. Ralph has authored, co-authored and edited six books, including The Dynamics of Workplace Unionism (1994), The Political Trajectory of J.T. Murphy (1998), Glorious Summer (2001), Syndicalism and the Transition to Communism: An International Comparative Analysis (2008), What’s the Point of Industrial Relations?: In Defence of Critical Social Science (2009), and Radical Unionism (2013).

Dr Laura Schwartz Associate Professor in Modern British History, Warwick University. Her main research interests are the history of feminism and radical movements in Britain, and she is completing her third monograph on ‘Feminism and the Servant Problem: Class Conflict and Domestic Labour in the British Women’s Suffrage Movement’.

History Acts is a new radical history forum, affiliated to the Raphael Samuel Centre, and based at the University of London. Our goal is to bring together radical and left-wing historians and contemporary activists. We want to find new ways to engage as academics with contemporary struggles, to learn from activists, and to see how we can use what expertise and institutional resources we have to provide active solidarity.

History Acts sessions take place on the third Tuesday of every term-time month. They are held at Birkbeck, University of London.
Sessions are free and open to any historian, any history student, or anyone interested in how history can work for social and political change.