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College of Podiatry delegation at TUC Congress

College of Podiatry delegation at TUC Congress


Each year the College of Podiatry attends the TUC Congress, one of the biggest political meetings of the year, as part of its involvement with the wider trade union movement. This year’s event in Brighton saw a major step up in our involvement making sure that the voice of podiatry is heard at the highest levels.

For more than 150 years, unions have come together to fight for safer workplaces and wages and to make sure every job is a decent job and everyone at work is treated with respect. This year at the TUC Congress, 48 trade unions come together to represent the 5.5 million workers they have in membership.

Our delegation, Head of Employment Services Martin Furlong (pictured above) and Professional Officer Katie Collins (pictured below), had a busy week promoting the work of the College. The College contributed two items to the agenda, one on bullying and harassment of health professionals and the other on the need for employers to be responsible for ensuring that workers, where ever they are, get proper advice about the footwear that they need to work safely With the support of unions such as the GMB, the RMT, Midwives, Radiographers and Consultant Doctors, our motions were agreed with unanimously.

We will be taking these issues forward as campaigns over the next few months, including the launch of our statement on Bullying and Harassment, and will be working with the TUC on tools for reps to report bullying and also how to handle these issues in the workplace.


We were also involved in debates on a wide variety of themes such as the effect of a no-deal Brexit on the NHS, period poverty, the importance of self-employed workers and Apprenticeships – all from a podiatry viewpoint.

We also had an exhibition stand, where we highlighted the need for workers in the UK to have better information on the types of footwear that they should be wearing. Our staff, Di Scott-Brown, Wayne Geohegan, Maureen Jonas and Elaine Garnett were joined by our College chair George Dunn and local podiatrists from the Brighton area. We were also delighted that our President Lord Kennedy was also there to help out on the stand!

Our attendance at the TUC this year also coincided with Martin Furlong attending his first meeting as a newly elected member of the TUC’s General Council. Martin said, ‘The TUC plays a vital role in helping us support our members with workplace issues and in protecting our NHS so not only are we delighted to be part of its annual congress each year, we are delighted to represent our members at its highest level’.

Katie Collins, who represents the College on the TUC’s Women’s Committee, added ‘it is always fantastic to represent the College at the TUC and this year was all the more important in the current political climate to get our message out there to over 3000 delegates of the importance of podiatry and healthcare to take back to their unions’.

Following Congress we have been approached by a number of large unions asking us to work with them to educate their members about podiatry and footwear issues, which will be of great benefit to all.

Next year’s TUC also takes place in Brighton next September and we will be working with the College’s union representatives and Employment Support Committee over the coming year to inform the motions for then.


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