A team of Community staff and activists attended the 2018 Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset to celebrate the memory of the people after which the festival is named.
In 1834, farm workers in west Dorset formed a trade union. At the time trade unions were lawful and growing, but six leaders of this new union were arrested and sentenced to seven years’ transportation to Australia for taking an oath of secrecy. The festival is held in memory of those leaders, and is organised by the Dorset Committee of the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers. It features a range of activities such as a parade of banners from trade unions, a memorial service, speeches and music.
The Community delegation played an active role in this year’s festival; waving Community’s banner in the parade, attending the memorial service and constructing a stand to speak to festival attendees about Community and the work that we do.
Speaking after the festival, Jan Bownes, a Community activist and regular attendee of Tolpuddle, said:
“Tolpuddle is such a huge event, growing year on year, so it’s always a pleasure to attend on behalf of Community and celebrate the events that played a role in the founding of modern trade unionism.
“With such a wide variety of different people at the event, we had plenty of opportunities to have positive discussions about the role of trade unions and the great work undertaken by Community. We’re very unique in that we have so many different sectors which was an interesting talking point for a lot of people.“
“We must never forget the events that shaped our values and who we are, festivals such as this are key in preserving our stories for generations to come.”
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