THE failure of Catholics in this country to rise to the top of poll/cal and professional walks of life has often been commented on. There is at least one exception: the Trade Union Movement.
In view of the T.U.C. Congress now in session on the Isle of Man, we publish this week pictures and descript:ons of some of the Trade Union personalities who, as Catholics, have risen to the highest ranks of one of the most important forces in the country.
This fact underlines a boast often made in this country, namely that, unlike what has happened in many continental countries, the Church in Britain has never lost the worker Class.
NOMINATED by 22 unions for the post of T.U.C. General Secretary, George Woodcock (horn Bamber Bridge, Lanes, 1904) is definitely the boy who made good. At the age of 12 he worked half-time in a cotton mill; joined Weavers' Association, worked voluntarily for it till he got a TUC scholarship to Ruskin College, 1929; then scholarship to New College, Oxford. Won first class degree in philosophy, politics and economics.
A further scholarship enabled him to do two years post-graduate at Manchester. Entered Civil Service. In 1936 came to the T.U.C. as secretary, research department, becoming assistant general secretary 1947. C.B.E. in 1953. Has sat on many commissions. Married in 1933. One son, one daughter.
sIR TOM O'BRIEN (born South Wales 1900) is the man who gave a wrong age in order to join up in the First World War. Interested himself in the hint industry after the war, joining the national association of Theatrical
and Kine Employees in 1918. Did some stage managing. In 1921 became South Wales organiser for his union. In 1932, General Secretary, the youngest ever up to then.
In 1940 elected to the T.U.C. General Council, presiding over Joseph O'HAGAN Congress in 1953. Knighted 1956. Has sat in Parliament. Married in 1922, has two sons, one daughter. He too made the grade the hard way: he was an errand boy at age or 12
WJ. CARRON, another man who will work and work, and never refuse an arduous task, was born in Hull in 1902, joining the A.E.U. in 1924. He has been shop steward, branch secretary, district president, divisional organiser, executive counsellor—the lot!
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