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Hold a union meeting under a tree on 19 July 2019

Hold a union meeting under a tree on 19 July 2019

Prospect members at Tolpuddle festival

Prospect organiser Chris Perry explains why trees are part of our political, social and cultural history


Today it’s all too easy today to ‘meet’ colleagues and friends through digital means without leaving the comfort of our workplaces or homes.

For union reps in particular, organising virtual meetings enables all members to be involved in discussing issues and agreeing actions.

But before technology and traditional meeting rooms, the humble tree often served as a rallying point. More than a source of fuel, fruit or timber, a prominent tree offered as good a meeting place as any for our ancestors.           

Recognising this, the National Trust is celebrating landmarks where significant decisions were made by ordinary people.

The initiative is called ‘Peoples’ Landscapes’, and Prospect members in the Trust are working with their employer to commemorate the famous Tolpuddle Martyr’s tree in Dorset.

Here, in 1834 West Country farm workers signed an oath of allegiance to their union and in doing so formed the modern trade unions we belong to.

To support our members in the National Trust, and celebrate this simple, but important meeting place, we’re encouraging all members to join in.

Naturally we realise its impractical (and unsafe!) to meet beneath the Tolpuddle tree. However, if your workplace has a convenient tree, it would be great if you could hold a meeting there on Friday 19 July – the start of the Tolpuddle festival.

Not only would you be showing support for your colleagues in the National Trust, but you’d be honouring the members of bygone times who did so much to help improve our working lives today.

Please do share the experience if you participate – you can send photos and/or stories to marie.

Chris Perry

Chris Perry


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