Photo report by Peter Arkell
Thousands of trades unionists with their banners paraded past the thatched cottages of the tiny village of Tolpuddle on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the day in 1834 when six farm labourers were sentenced for taking part in an illegal oath-taking ceremony. Their real offence was that they had dared form a trade union. They were found guilty and transported to Australia, but a huge outcry forced the government of the day to pardon them and bring them back – as martyrs.
The march, with large delegations from the RMT, Unite, Unison, the teaching unions and the civil service unions was the culmination of a 3-day annual festival in the village. Speakers included Tony Benn, Ben Bradshaw of the Labour Party, Bob Crow of the RMT, and Tony Burke of Unite.
19 July 2010