The learning centre is part of a TUC led education programme, called the Union Learning Fund, which promotes basic education among trade union members, including arithmetic and language skills.

The Bakers Union is taking the lead in this initiative to assist those who have had difficulties because they may have missed out on schooling, or English may not be their first language. The Dell PC is part of vital new equipment to resource the learning centre, which is used by bakeries from the area.

Dorban Ipoma, from the BFAWU, comments: “We selected the Wigan learning centre to receive the new PC because it has been very successful in supporting its members with this learning initiative. We are grateful to Thompsons for the generous gift and support they’ve given to our programme.”

Thompsons provides legal support to trade unions and their members, and takes legal action to defend the interests of employees who have experienced personal injury or an infringement of rights at work.

Tristram Sterry, from Thompsons Solicitors, comments: “This demonstrates a different side to trade unionism which is about responding to people’s aspirations by improving personal education and skills. Most people wrongly associate unions with employment disputes; the fact is that unions offer high quality services and real opportunities to individuals. We are proud to able to support this initiative with the Bakers Union.”

There are now 12,000 union learning representatives in the country and unions have helped to establish 150 learning centres in workplaces in just two years, providing support for many individuals who may not have been able to obtain support from the formal education system.

About the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)

The Union was first formed in 1847 in Manchester, as a group of Journeymen Bakers came together to improve wages and living standards. The following year this small beginning began to expand in to a national organisation.

Over the years the Union has grown in numbers and strength, as well as gathering experience in assisting and protecting workers. It remains a food-based Union, operating and specialising in its trade and aims to pull all the experience to good use in assisting its members with any work issue.

About the Union Learning Fund

The Union Learning Fund is a nationwide project to improve key/basic skills in the baking industry. The BFAWU, through a Government initiative, has secured funding for the project to identify basic literacy and numeracy skills, provide frontline advice and guidance on improvement of those skills and work with management to enhance those skills.