Sir William Lawther speaking at the TUC.
Documentation contains a press copy of the T.U.C. President's address to 81st annual Trades Union Congress.
LS. MS. & LS. Sir William Lawther, Member of TUC and Anglo-American Council of Productivity addressing the meeting. LS. Pan from platform over audience applauding as he finishes speaking. SCU. Vincent Tewson and Sir William Lawther chatting. SCU.Lawther speaking. (Silent). Sir William Lawther's speech. "Fellow Delegates, Congress meets for the second time in Bridlington after an interval of ten years. A full decade of storm and struggle lies behind us. What lies before us is essentially a continuation of the effort we have been called upon to make to maintain our freedom and our democratic way of life. Our task is much more difficult under the pressure of economic and political conditions set in motion by the second world war. It has been said often enough that wars are not paid for in war-time: the bill comes in later. As a nation - and as an organised Movement - we have been striving, and have still to strive, to find the means of footing the bill. That we have not actually gone bankrupt is due to the great efforts our people have made to win back our place as a great manufacturing and trading nation. We have been aided in that task by the generous co-operation of the United States under the Marshall Plan. We appreciate the help we have received from this source, and particularly from Mr. Hoffman and his colleague, Mr. Harriman who have done a great job in a grand way. But the fact remains that the real and substantial progress we have made towards recovery is the result mainly of our own tremendous and sustained endeavours to produce enough to pay our way and meet the country's needs: while at the same time making our full contribution to the fulfilment of the European Recovery Programme to the maintenance of our defences against aggression, and to the creation of the conditions of peace, order and goodwill among the nations. Very few of the stoppages in industry in the last four years have been sanctioned by the Unions. Most of them have been unofficial stoppages against the advice and directions of the Unions whose members have been involved. The worst of our industrial troubles this year in fact, arose out of inter-union conflicts across the ocean with which we had no concern at all, and in the settlement of which the influence and authority of none of our Unions could be effectively used. Yet, it is unhappily true that the atmosphere of hostility and suspicion generated by the relatively small number of unofficial strikes in this country is due in some measure to the misguided action of some of our own people. These are the reasons why, since we met here ten years ago, we have settled down to the tasks that the new conditions of life and labour have brought to light. We will not accept any dictation. We will not allow our purposes and aims to be directed into grooves to suit political parties of any kind. That is slavery. It is a denial of the human rights which are the very foundation of our belief, and of our Trade Union organisation. Trade Unionism, as we cherish and fortify it today is a social philosophy - and we will subscribe to none other that denies the basic fact of human dignity, and the freedom of mankind. Towards that ideal, I ask you to give a clear and definite lead which will make it plain and unmistakable that, come what may, you who are entrusted with the task of leadership at this Congress will face the facts and point the way, however unpleasant and difficult it may be. The road to Freedom is uphill all the way."
LS. MS. & LS. Sir William Lawther, President addressing the meeting. LS. Pan from platform over audience applauding as he finished speech. LS. MS. Audience shots. (2 shots). CU. Woman delegate listening. CU. 2 men listening. MS. Delegates arriving for the conference. SCU. Vincent Tewson and Sir William Lawther chatting. CU. Sir Arthur Deakin. SCU. Florence Hancock Vice Chairman of the T.U.C. seated on platform. SCU. Tom O'Brien M.P. General Secretary OF N.A.T.K.E. SCU. Lawther speaking. (Silent) SCU. Vincent Tewson and Mr. Woodcock. SCU. Dame McLoughlen and another member of the General Council. CU. George Elvin. CU. Delegates in the audience. (5 shots). SCU. Delegates leaving. SCU. Tom O'Brien and Mr. A Roberts Chairman of the T.U.C. CU. Mr. Harry C. Bates, delegate from the American Federation of Labour. CU. Arthur Deakin. CU. Mr. Walter M. Murdoch, delegate from the Trades and Labour Congress. of Canada. LS. Elevated G.Vs of the Congress. (2 shots). SCU. Arthur Deakin. LS. G.Vs Bridlington and harbour. (2 shots). NATURAL SOUND - PRECIS Lawther refers to the help we have received from Marshall Plan and to the agitation in the Trade Unions by Communists.
(Comb.Orig.Neg.) (Cuts 49/72)
Note: good rousing speech.