A Glorious History:  The Printing and Papermaking Trade Unions In The  UK & Ireland

For the first time the story of print and paper workers’ struggle for rights and trade union freedoms is brought together in one illustrated volume. From the resources of the Printworkers’ Collection at the Marx Memorial Library and Workers’ School, the 72-page book brings together the experiences and exploits of print and paper worker agitation spanning 250 years.  

An introductory overview leads the reader to chapters on specific issues and trade union organisation showing how, in co-operation and sometimes in competition, trade unionists fought against poverty, injustice and exploitation. Graphic events are described from the days of imprisonment and transportation of the early trade unionists through to the major struggles for better conditions and later against attacks on jobs and recognition.

Most of the material for this booklet has been gathered from histories that were written after many of the most essential of workers’ trade union rights and collective liberties had been won: immunity from prosecution for strike action, picketing rights, ability to protect 100% membership (the closed shop). Struggles for basic rights were referred to as history, not battles yet to be fought. Twentieth century establishment of negotiating processes with employers and agreed referral to government-approved conciliation mechanisms including government ministers are in stark contrast to the contempt for trade unions and workers’ rights by employers and Government today. 


This history is copyrighted and permission to reproduce in part or in whole must be given in writing. Reproduction must always include clear reference to the origin of the text in the Printworkers’ Collection at the Marx Memorial Library, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1R 0DU where archives of the print unions are on permanent display, and to authors where quoted.

All images were selected from material held in the Printworkers’ Collection of the Marx Memorial Library and permission must be sought for reproduction.  Copyright of certain photographs as listed in the credits section of the booklet resides with their creators.

Authors Tony Burke and Ann Field are retired senior national officials of Unite and formerly of the Graphical Paper & Media Union.  

For a copy of ‘A Glorious History’ email: Debra.Belle@unitetheunion.org

Please Note: Do not request multiple copies.  This is limited edition book and only single copies will be provided. Copies will be sent out only at the discretion of the authors.

For further information or interviews please email tonyburke@mac.com or  Ann.field@btinternet.com

A Glorious History: How print and papermaking unions were Britain’s labour movement pioneers

New book charts evolution of print and paper unions

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Pinterest Email
This entry was posted in Blogs, Employment Rights, European Trade Unions, International Trade Unions, Labour Party, Media, Politics, Solidarity, Trade Unions, Trades Union Congress, Unite The Union, Workers Uniting. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *