Papers of Campbell Christie, General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, Scotland

Scope and Content

121 speeches with supporting documents given by Campbell Christie as General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress at conferences, meetings and other public events 1985-1998. Topics include general trade union issues, employment, state of industry, privatisation and nationalisation, peace and disarmament, academic training, energy, political issues, the Scottish Parliament, trade union law, housing.

Administrative / Biographical History

Campbell Christie was born in Carsluith, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, in 1937  into a family of six brothers; his father was a civil servant and his mother a housewife. When he was 12 he moved to Glasgow, Scotland. At school, he had no great ambitions but was an eager sportsman, representing the City of Glasgow in football and athletics. He entered the Civil Service upon leaving school through as National Civil Service competition, to the delight of his widowed mother who saw this is a secure career. He became involved in the civil service unions and by the 1960s  was secretary of the National Assistance Board section in the Civil Service Clerical Association, where he developed a reputation for provocative oratory that unsettled the right-wing Catholic grouping which dominated civil service trade unionism at the time. As the 1960s wore on, Christie and his younger brother, Leslie, became leading lights in the left-wing caucus which steadily transformed the Society of Civil & Public Servants from a 40,000 strong apolitical association into a disciplined broad-left Trades Union Congress union with a 6-figure membership. By 1976 , he was deputy general secretary of his union, representing civil service, post office, British Telecom and a number of other public sector organisation staff, and rapidly becoming the Left’s best strategist within the Trades Union Congress (TUC). In 1986 , he left London for Scotland and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), much to the dismay of the London union. At the time of his appointment as General Secretary of the STUC in 1986 , he claimed his chief motivation was his wish to help shape a Scottish Parliament and held the post until his retirement in 1998 . The STUC is the umbrella organisation to which all Trade Unions in Scotland affiliate to represent their views to government and the Scottish public.

As General Secretary, Campbell had an involvement in all aspects of economic and social life in Scotland. He was a member of the Scottish Economic Council from 1986 until 1998 and was director of the Glasgow Development Agency from 1992 until 1998. He was also a member of the Scottish Advisory Council for Education & Training Targets (ASCETT) during the period that the Scottish Training targets were developed. He was appointed to the Board of Scottish Enterprise in 1998 and was chairman of the Lothian Trade Union & Community Resource Centre.

The STUC has for many years supported the campaign for a devolved Parliament in Scotland and Campbell Christie represented the STUC on the Scottish Constitutional Convention from its formation in 1987. He was appointed to the Secretary of State’s Joint Constitutional Steering Group in 1998 to assist in preparing the operational agreements for the Scottish Parliament. At European level, he had been one of the Scottish members of the Economic Community’s Economic & Social Committee since 1986. As a member of the committee, he was responsible for the production of a number of reports on the development of the EU Structural Funds. For a number of years, Campbell has been a visiting professor at Glasgow Caledonian University and is also an honorary professor of the University of Glasgow. In July 1993 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letter from Napier University, Edinburgh, and in the same year was appointed as a fellow of the Scottish Vocational Education Council (SCOTVEC) and later the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). In 1997 he was awarded the CBE and in July 1999 an honorary Doctor of Letters from Glasgow Caledonian University.

Campbell gave many speeches to the annual STUC Congress as well at Labour Party conferences, trade union conferences, the United Nations, degree conferments, summer schools and numerous other events. The subjects of these speeches were varied and aimed at the event at which he was speaking. Examples include a 1989 address to the Oxford Union entitled What is public ownership and why has it occurred in Britain and what is privatisation and why has it occurred in Britain; speeches on general Trade Union issues; Employment - 2000 and beyond to Kilmarnock College in 1995 and A Celebration of the Best of the Past and the Best of What is to Come to the Society of Directors of Personnel in Scotland’s Local Government in 1995.

Aitken, Keith, The Bairns O’ Adam: The Story of the STUC (Edinburgh, 1997)


The speeches are arranged chronologically with undated speeches grouped at the end of the collection

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : STUC : 1999 : ACCN 1999/3

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Manual file level list available in searchroom

Further information can be found via the Glasgow Caledonian University Archives homepage at

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This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1847 procedures

Custodial History

Held by the STUC, Glasgow


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Related Material

GB 1847 STUC Records of the Scottish Trades Union Congress


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Additional Information

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