TUC 2018 – celebrating 150 years & looking to the future

Posted on: 05-09-2018 by Nella Hodgkinson

Vote Counting at ERS in 1920

TUC 2018 – celebrating 150 years & looking to the future

TUC Congress 2018 kicks off this Sunday in Manchester and we are looking forward to attending as usual again this year – visit us on stand 39. This year’s Congress is bound to be a particularly special event, as it will also celebrate 150 years since the very first Trade Union Congress took place at the Mechanics’ Institute in Manchester. From 2nd to 6th June 1868, 34 delegates from all over the UK attended the meeting, representing 118,000 union members. The first resolution passed by that meeting was that ‘the trades of the United Kingdom should hold an annual congress’.

So much has happened in the intervening years. To mark the anniversary, the TUC has created a fascinating dedicated website, TUC150, featuring trade union stories from the past 150 years. It’s not a history of trade unionism (one already exists here if you’re interested), but rather snapshots of trade unionists whose stories will ‘surprise, move and inspire you‘. It’s well worth a look and very effectively illustrates the achievements since that first gathering.

Trade Unions & ERS: An Enduring Relationship

The anniversary means a lot to us, too. We began administering ballots for rail and mining unions more than a century ago and have been at the forefront of trade union balloting ever since. It was back in 1988 that we were specified as an approved independent scrutineer for statutory and non-statutory trade union elections and ballots. In 2000, we ran the first major ballot in the UK with an online voting option – it was for the MSF trade union, consulting members on its merger with AEEU. We are very proud of that shared history.

Today, ERS is the UK’s leading independent provider of end-to-end ballot, election and voting services, trusted to provide ballot and election services for 90% of the UK’s trade unions. As such, our dedicated team offers unrivalled knowledge of the legislation governing the sector. Changes brought in by the Trade Union Act have also opened the door for new ways to engage members and our engagement and online voting tools are trusted to support a wide range of election processes.

Ready For Future Opportunities

We are delighted to be attending this year’s Congress and joining in with the celebrations of this landmark anniversary. However, we also share the TUC’s focus in 2018 – ‘It’s an opportunity to celebrate our proud history. But even more importantly, it’s a chance for us to reach out to a new generation and get ready for the challenges of the next 150 years.

ERS has conducted online balloting for other clients for more than 18 years, as well as non-statutory ballots for many unions, and currently administers hundreds of these projects annually. While the law continues to require statutory trade union ballots to be conducted by post, when legislation changes to allow alternative methods of voting, ERS is uniquely well placed to assist trade unions in using the opportunities these changes will bring, including improved efficiency and cost effective communication between unions and their members.

Let’s Catch Up At Congress

If you’re attending TUC Congress 2018, do come and visit us on stand 39 in the exhibition hall. Our experienced team will be there to answer questions, explain our range of services, and discuss how we could help with your union’s requirements.

Sian Roberts, Chief Executive of ERS, said:

It’s great to be returning to Congress again in this very special year. It’s also 25 years since I first attended Congress on behalf of ERS – it’s always such a great opportunity to catching up with our trade union colleagues and meet new ones.

The enduring relationship between ERS and trade unions stems from the fact that democracy has always been at the very heart of the trade union movement. For over 100 years, ERS has been there to facilitate trade union democracy. We look forward to continuing that relationship for many years to come.

From the whole team at ERS, happy 150th TUC!