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Monday 29 January 2024

FDA marches to commemorate 40th anniversary of GCHQ union ban

General Secretary Dave Penman carries the FDA banner at the Cheltenham march

The FDA marches to commemorate the 40th anniversary GCHQ trade union ban and demonstrate as the right to strike is threatened for millions of union members

On 27th January, FDA staff, Executive Committee and members took part in a march in Cheltenham to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the GCHQ trade union ban, and celebrate the campaign that saw the ban reversed by the Labour government in 1997.

The FDA marched alongside fellow unions as well as FDA members who were subject to the ban in 1984, which FDA General Secretary Dave Penman described as “truly humbling”.

Jess Hurd
FDA President Tony Wallace speaks to marchers commemorating the 40th anniversary of the GCHQ trade union ban. The original GCHQ trade union flag, including the FDA, can be seen at the front of the march



FDA President Tony Wallace spoke at the event, sharing his memory from 1988 of hearing a speech from one of the “unassuming, studious, career-minded civil servants” who had been “thrust reluctantly into the limelight” when they were sacked for refusing to rescind their trade union membership. Wallace praised “the hundreds who fought for and won back the right to be a member of a trade union… Governments take on the trade union movement at their peril”.

The march also acted as a demonstration against minimum service levels, threatening the right to strike for millions of union members. Wallace spoke of the danger of “curtailing the right to strike for millions of workers”, adding that this should be “consigned to history”.
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