Motion to 2019 Trades Union Councils Annual Conference

Conference agrees an inclusive understanding of culture which unites the concerns of creative workers with other workers in industries with a cultural dimension, in the broadest sense, and with all workers and their families, as participants and consumers of culture.


We recognise that:

(1) culture includes not just the arts, but all those learned human activities which give life purpose, meaning and value, and which human beings engage in for enjoyment, entertainment and enlightenment. It includes sport, the media, science and technology, religion and other popular activities.

(2) There are major and growing problems in most areas of cultural activity (defined inclusively) – issues of access, content, relevance, funding, delivery, diversity, as well as wages, terms and conditions of employment.  In the arts, for example, the poorest communities get the least return for their contribution to funding through general taxation and National Lottery receipts.


Conference notes that some TUC regions have already established cultural working groups, drawn from unions with members in the creative and leisure industries, from trades union councils and including appropriate campaigning organisations.  Conference encourages trades union councils to:

  • participate in such working groups, and to seek their establishment where they do not exist;
  • develop their own local cultural policies, in order to help promote suitable cultural, educational, social, sports and other relevant activities for working people;
  • seek to engage with relevant local bodies across the whole range of cultural activities, to promote and advance trade union concerns around provision, eg issues of access, content, relevance, funding, delivery, diversity;
  • seek to engage with local workers in the arts, sports, the media and other cultural activities, in support of trade union objectives.

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The Lucas Aerospace Shop Stewards’ Combine’s Alternative Corporate Plan of 1976 was a pioneering effort by workers at the arms company to retain jobs by proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills. A 40th anniversary conference, sponsored by (among others) Newcastle TUC, was held in Birmingham on 26 November 2016.
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