[2019] Motion 58 Trade unionism and collectivism in the curriculum

Composited motion

Received from:

Merged into composite 13

Congress notes that the 21st century curriculum for schools in the UK now includes a range of topics which have been added over recent years, including social care, computer programming and politics. Congress also welcomes the proposed introduction of inclusive sex and relationship education in the curriculum.

Despite this modernisation, the curriculum is still lacking any formal education
about the trade union movement.

Lessons on the history of trade unionism would give young people an understanding of the reasons for collectivism and the kind of successes that can be achieved when they are fought for collectively. Young people should also have the opportunity to learn about specific events in trade union history and why they still matter today.

In addition, proper education about modern trade unionism, including how
to become a trade union member and how unions operate in the twenty first
century workplace, along with an understanding of workers’ rights, could lead to a significant increase in the number of people joining a union when they enter the workplace.

Congress therefore calls on the General Council to lobby the UK parliament and devolved legislatures to include in the secondary curriculum specific education on the history of trade unionism and collectivism, workplace rights and the current role and operations of trade unions today.



  • Add new paragraph at end:
    “Congress also recognises that some unions are currently providing speakers on trade unionism to schools and colleges and calls on the TUC to support this by co-ordinating activity at a regional level, producing a briefing for speakers and helping secure speaking slots.”

Communication Workers Union


  • Insert new paragraph 5:
    “Congress also acknowledges the importance of including an understanding of trade unionism and workers’ rights in initial training and CPD for schoolteachers, and in the importance of supporting and utilising the existing professional expertise of trade union tutors, lecturers and researchers in taking this work forward.”

University and College Union