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The General Federation of Trade Unions was established at a special Congress of the Trades Union Congress held in 1899 with the specific purpose of maintaining a common strike fund which could be drawn upon by its affiliated trades unions. (A function that for internal political reasons the Trades Union Congress itself did not want to provide.)

Although it continues to provide a common strike fund, it now describes itself as the 'Federation for Specialist Unions 'and basically provides Research and Education services to its members, which are listed below

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