This year represents the 150th anniversary of the first ever meeting of the Trades Union Congress, convened by Manchester and Salford Trades Council at the Mechanics Institute in 1868.
The birthplace of the TUC also hosts the annual Manchester May Day festivities and this year there's another great line up of events, beginning with an opening speech by Labour Party Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell at 11:15am (see Facebook event page for further details – click here).
This is followed by talks on everything from The Original Gig Economy – A Musician's Perspective on the Challenges of Freelancing hosted by the Musicians Union, to a talk on the forthcoming McStrike!, to Palestine, Cuba, the Kurds, the legacy of the Spanish Civil War, CND and loads more happening in three different rooms.
At 5:45pm there's the closing May Day Rally with speakers including Lynn Hodge from Unite Fujitsu, Ian Reynolds representing Unison Unite Mears, Jenny Clegg Stop the War, Matt Wrack FBU and Ian Hodson of the bakers union, BFAWU.
"The current Labour leadership understands the vital role trade unions play in creating an equal society and we are delighted that John McDonnell will open this year's May Day Festival in what is the 150th anniversary year of the founding of the TUC" says MTUC President Annette Wright.
The Full Programme of Events...
11:30am - Manchester May Day Opening Ceremony
12-1:45pm Slavery – The Historical and Present-day Impact in Manchester and the North West, presented by Greater Manchester Unite Community Branch
12:15-1:15pm - Eyewitness Palestine: Daily life in the rural West Bank, with barrister John Hobson, and Chair, Paula Barker, Regional Convenor, UNISON North West.
12:30-1:30pm - The Original Gig Economy – A Musician's Perspective on the Challenges of Freelancing presented by the Musicians' Union
1:30-2:30pm - The Legacy of the Spanish Civil and the International Brigades, with speakers: Begoña del Castillo, CCOO trade union, Madrid Dolores Long, daughter of Sam Wild, Commander of the British Battalion at the Battle of the Ebro and Chair David Owen, UNISON North West International Committee
1:45pm McStrike!, presented by the BFAWU
2pm-3pm - Freedom for Ocalan: For a Peaceful, Democratic Solution to the Kurdish Question, presented by the Freedom for Ocalan Campaign and supported by Unite
2:45-3:45pm - Latin America under attack: Cuba and Venezuela, with speakers Ambassador of Cuba to the UK, Teresita Vicente; Ambassador of Venezuela to the UK, Rocio Maneiro, and Chair Tracy Delaney, UNSON North West International Committee
3pm-4:15pm - NHS 70th birthday: Time for a publicly-run drug industry?, presented by Global Justice Manchester
3:15-4:15pm - Job Not Bombs: An Industrial Strategy for Peace, Sustainability and Jobs, presented by Greater Manchester CND
4pm-5:30pm - Peterloo and Protest – Mass Movements Past and Present, presented by the People's Assembly
4:30-5:30pm - Support for Palestinian Schools, Teachers and Children, presented by Manchester NUT
4:30pm -5:30pm - Winning Recognition in the Workplace, presented by Unison Greater Manchester Transport
5:45-7pm- Closing Rally
For more details of the Festival see the Facebook event page – click here
On Saturday 5th May at the Mechanics Institute there's also a performance of the ace Grunwick play, We Are the Lions, Mr Manager (click here for tickets and further details).
On Monday 7th May Manchester TUC will be joining with Salford Trades Council for a May Day march – further details to follow.