Greetings card: The Southern & Eastern Region of the Trades Union Congress (SERTUC)
The SERTUC banner was commissioned and produced in 2006. It is a mixture of stitched fabric and paint and was designed and made by Ed Hall.
Our Region comprises three sub-regions – London, the East and the South East of England. The front of the banner features an important political or industrial scene from each.
London is represented by the women of the Grunwick strike that lasted for two years between 1976 and 1978. The mostly female, migrant and Asian workforce of this photo-processing plant were striking for trade union recognition following the dismissal of one of the workers for working too slowly. Thousands of workers from across the trade union movement supported the picket line daily and there were fierce clashes with the paramilitary Special Patrol Group.
For the East of England, the image shows Annie and Tom Higdon, schoolteachers sacked by the squirearchy in the Norfolk village of Burston, celebrating “the longest strike in history”. Annie was a progressive educator demanding better conditions for the children; Tom was an active recruiter of farm labourers to the Agricultural Workers Union. On 1 April 1914 66 of the 72 children walked out; the Higdon’s continued lessons on the village green, by 1917 the trade union and labour movement had built a school (now a museum) and the “strike” continued until Tom Higdon’s death in 1939.
Robert Tressell was the nom de plume of the author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Real name Robert Noonan, he was a house painter and lived, worked and wrote his essential working class novel in Hastings on the South East coast. The book describes the grinding poverty and hard lives of the “philanthropists” – building workers who slaved daily to ensure riches for their employers.
A minimum of 10p of the purchase price of this card is donated to the Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Committee, of which SERTUC is a founding sponsor.
Photography by Martin Shakeshaft.
Photography, design and print by unionised labour.
www.martinshakeshaft.com www.kavitagraphics.co.uk www.russellpress.com