About the Union.
Name Change - Unity is born :
Delegates to a special recall conference in November 2005 backed the union's change of name to Unity.
The new name reflects the union's role as a union for all workers, not only those in the ceramics industry.
Said general secretary Geoff Bagnall:
"Following an overwhelming vote for the change from members, delegates at the recall conference agreed that Unity was the most appropriate name for the union as it enters a new era and looks outside the traditional ceramics industry for members"
"Our membership recognises that we need to change as a union and support the changes we proposed and the way we are going forward".
Figures show the union had 57,000 members in 1971, but membership fell to 15,000 in 2002 and is currently about 9,000.
Mr Bagnall said the union already represents several hundred members in non - ceramic companies and the number is growing steadily.
They include boat builders, care staff, plastic workers and even a cow inseminator.
"I believe that the name change was essential if we are to make the union more attractive to potential members outside of the traditional ceramics industry."
He stressed that the union will not be turning its back on its thousands of members in the pottery industry.
"This union will never forget its roots and its long and proud history. It was founded by pottery workers, many of whom paid a terrible price for their union membership, and has been built up by generations of pottery workers over the years.
However, if we are to rebuild the union following the devastating mass redundancies of recent years, we must look at industries outside of ceramics to recruit new members and become a true community union.
Now that the change has been made, we can go forward and continue to fight for the rights of workers in the pottery industry and in other occupations."
About the Union : The History of our Union :
The history of Unity (formerly known as CATU) can be traced back to the early 19th century.
The early days of the union were ones of immense suffering and struggle for the pottery workers. The industry was one of the unhealthiest in the country. Workers were exploited by the "good from oven" deductions and the union was at the forefront of the Chartist movement of the 19th century.
The ceramic industry has had many ups and downs - and the union has had many successes in maintaining its membership at high levels within the industry. The employees have always regarded the union as its main help in the struggle to maintain working peoples pay and conditions.
From those beginnings our union has always been one of the most progressive unions in the country, fighting for improvements in the working conditions of its members.
From it's early days it has been involved on the national stage with members all over the country - representing members from Scotland to Northern Ireland, down to Worcester and the South of England.