The annual Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival will see trade unionists gather to celebrate the labour movement and the sacrifice of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.  

The Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of 19th century agricultural labourers who were charged with swearing a secret oath. Fighting three years of pay cuts and a weekly wage of just six shillings, Dorset farm labourer, George Loveless and his five colleagues took a secret oath to form one of the earliest trade unions

There was a huge uprising from working class people when the six men were convicted and sentenced to penal transportation to Australia. A petition signed by 800,000 people was delivered to Parliament and, after three years of campaigning, the six men returned with full pardons.  

The Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival is an annual festival held in the village of Tolpuddle, Dorset. TUC’s national organiser, Carl Roper, PCS president, Clara Paillard and Shakira Martinpresident of NUS are just some the speakers at this year’s festival, which takes place on 20 – 22 July.

The struggle of the Tolpuddle Martyrs is one which still resonates today and at Thompsons, we are proud to work closely with our trade union partners and the labour movement to support working people and ensure that injured and mistreated people have a voice.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “During the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival, we remember the sacrifice of the six men who were successful in forming one of the earliest trade unions in the UK, fighting unfair working conditions and poor pay.

“The Martyrs paved the way for workers to be able to speak out about mistreatment in their workplace and we support those who follow in their footsteps and seek to ensure those responsible are held accountable for their actions, or in many cases, their failures.

“The struggle of the Tolpuddle Martyrs is one which still resonates today and at Thompsons, we are proud to work closely with our trade union partners and the labour movement to support working people and ensure that injured and mistreated people have a voice.”