NUPE’s history shows how organisations of the working class can contribute a tremendous force for social change. For those who want to build a new society, history is much more than a record of past events. It provides inspiration to the collective imagination, generating the energy and enthusiasm needed to shape the future.
We do not make our history in a vacuum or in circumstances of our own choosing. Like all trade unions, NUPE has experienced setbacks and disappointments, as well as success. Some struggles continue, like those still mounted by NUPE members against low pay and in support of the public services. But we regroup, take stock and fight on.
Looking at our own history, we can sense a shared identity and a feeling of continuity with NUPE members who have gone before. This is our NUPE tradition, and we have every reason to celebrate it. Bernard Dix
Bob Fryer is Principal of Northern College, and academic advisor for the formation of UNISON from NUPE, NALGO and COHSE.
Steve Williams has worked for NUPE since 1979 and is co-author, with Bernard Dix, of Serving the Public - Building the Union.