Solidarity, unity and compassion – O’Grady praises trade unions at Tolpuddle

Thousands of workers are this weekend descending on a rural Dorset village to celebrate the values of the trade union movement – solidarity, unity and compassion.

The annual Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival beings today and – a week after Donald Trump’s visit to London – TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady will call on workers to continue to stick together.

Frances will say on Sunday: “The values shared by those six brave martyrs inspired a nation and changed the course of history. And they continue to define our movement today.

“If trades unionism is about one thing, then it is about friendship between working people. And with alt-right nationalists on the march – in this country, across Europe and in Trump’s America – that matters more than ever.

“Let’s be clear: Black and white, women and men, migrant and indigenous – we are all working people and we will always be stronger together.”

The Dorset festival runs from today until Sunday. Speakers include Jeremy Corbyn MP, John McDonnell MP, actor Maxine Peake, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, TUC President Sally Hunt and union general secretaries.

There will be sessions on a variety of subjects through the weekend including Grenfell, Brexit, young workers and women. Billy Bragg will be performing and there will be a children’s area.

At 1.30pm on Sunday wreaths will be laid on the grave of James Hammet, the only Tolpuddle Martyr buried in the village, with a rally that then goes through the village from 2pm.

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