Scope and Content

The Oxford and District Trades and Labour Council, subsequently called the Oxford and District Trades Council (O&DTC) was founded in October 1887. There were already a number of trades associations established in the city, and it was thought that bringing these together to form a council would prove beneficial and provide increased bargaining power with employers. The proposal for the Council appears to have been put forward by the Oxford branch of the Typographical Association, based at the Clarendon Press.

The O&DTC sought to establish trade union wages and conditions locally. They also supported, and fundraised for, wider, national strikes and protests. The Council were closely associated with the foundation of Ruskin College, and the establishment of a local branch of the Workers Educational Association. Representatives from the Council also tried to get involved in the local political scene, standing as candidates in local elections.

The role of the Council continued to develop, although membership numbers did fluctuate considerably during the 1920s and 1930s. The Council's function shifted to more of a co-ordination role. It also got involved in campaigns which affected local workers and residents; including the rents rents being charged and poor quality of building on the Florence Park estate, the construction (and subsequent demolition) of the Cutteslowe Walls, and the chronic post-war housing shortage in Oxford.

The name of the organisation was changed to the Oxford and District Trade Union Council (O&DTUC) after a serious dispute in 1976, during which the Trades Union Congress (TUC) withdrew recognition of the previous Council. For a more detailed overview of O&DTUC activities, see 'Oxford & District Trades Union Council: 100 Years' (item reference O44/1/A11/2/1), published as part of the Council's centenary celebrations in 1987.

This material was deposited as part of Accession 5639 in May 2007, and Accession 6318 in August 2014. The material from Accession 5639 formed part of a larger collection of material transferred from Ruskin College. These items had been previously assigned reference numbers by Ruskin College, and a concordance is provided at the back of the hard-copy catalogue.

Catalogued by Hannah Jones, March 2016

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