152nd annual TUC Congress to be held virtually from Congress Centre, Keir Starmer as keynote

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), the official federation of trade unions in England and Wales, has confirmed its 152nd annual Congress will go ahead in 2020 as a virtual event at Congress Centre.

Over 14 – 15 September, thousands of TUC members are expected to tune in online to the discussions and panels hosted at Congress 2020, including a keynote speech from leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, as well as TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady. This year’s theme is ‘Jobs, Security, Dignity”; focusing on the impact COVID-19 has had on jobs and what is needed to protect them in the weeks and months ahead.

Normally, 2,000 – 2,500 delegates and visitors would attend the four-day event. This year, the effects of COVID-19 has meant the need to keep it closer to home at Congress Centre, based within the TUC’s London headquarters. The transition to a virtual event also means ‘attendee’ numbers are expected to be much higher. The content from the Congress will be streamed live on the TUC website, with keynote speeches also being streamed via Facebook live, making them accessible to the union federation’s 5.5 million members.

Speakers and panel members will be present at the central London venue, while the programme of content will be directly broadcast from the venue through the TUC’s collaboration with AV company, QED Productions.

Robert Girvan, Congress Centre Director said: “Hosting this event is an important step for both Congress Centre and the wider events industry. We want to be able to take this as an example of how to run a large-scale virtual event and use it as a potential blueprint going forward – one that we can share with our peers. The TUC’s annual Congress is always a major few days in our calendar, but this year has had to be planned from scratch, without past examples to refer to. Nevertheless, I’m confident that it will be a ground-breaking two days for us all, in more ways than one.”

TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady commented: “This is a critical time. Working people must not pay the price of the pandemic – and the government must act now to stop mass unemployment. Congress 2020 is our chance to come together and debate our priorities for the year ahead. We will hear from the Leader of the Opposition, from union general secretaries and from frontline and key workers.”

“This year’s Congress has to be different, to keep us all safe. We are delighted to be able to welcome trade unionists and working people from across the UK to join Congress online. I encourage everyone who cares about rebuilding a fairer society to join us on 14 and 15 September 2020.”

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