The chains of history connecting 1910 to 2016 : from Mary MacArthur and Mary Quaile to the Durham Teaching Assistants.

lipstick socialist

Last week,  when  speaking at a West Midlands Unison meeting for women about the life of Mary Quaile,  I was vividly reminded  of the power of women and the power of women in trade unions.  While the problems women face (at this meeting sexual harassment at work was on the agenda,  not surprising given the environment of cuts)  might have changed,  the basic need for women to get together to discuss the particular issues that affect them,  and construct strategies to change them,  has not gone away. Nowadays trade unions are barely  recognisable from the days of Mary Quaile and Mary Macarthur,  but the issues that drove these women – recruiting women into trade unions, achieving  equality at work including equal pay for equal work –  have not gone away.

Mary Quaile was a grassroots person, even though she attained a place on the General Council of the TUC and…

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