Trade unionists

po047. Call to Action

This poster reprinted a call to trade unions from the Programme of Action against Apartheid adopted by the UN General Assembly. It was widely distributed by the AAM Trade Union Committee.

po168. ‘Stop Police Brutality’

Poster showing a woman worker badly beaten by South African police in March 1976. She was protesting at the sacking of workers at the Transvaal company Heinemann Electrical after they campaigned for recognition of their union MAWU (Metal and Allied Workers Union).

cul01. Equity referendum, 1976

The 1976 annual general meeting of the actors union Equity called for an extension of the union’s boycott of South Africa. It asked Equity’s Council to ban the sale of all filmed or taped material and to instruct all Equity members not to work there. This leaflet asked members to support the new policy in a referendum held to ratify the resolution. Members voted to support the union’s existing policy of banning sales of television programmes to South Africa and asking members to refuse to perform if they were prevented from appearing before multi-racial audiences. But the new proposals were narrowly defeated. Members also voted against a ban on performing in Zimbabwe. Performers Against Racism was set up to persuade actors to support the new policies; it worked closely with the AAM.

tu15. Southern Africa conference programme

From 1969, the AAM held regular conferences for British trade unionists on Southern Africa. This conference took place in November 1976, soon after South African workers had gone on strike in support of school students as part of the protests that swept South Africa after the Soweto uprising. 

tu42. Southern Africa and the British Trade Union and Labour Movement

Paper prepared for a conference for British trade unionists organised by the AAM in November 1976. In the mid-1970s the AAM focused on persuading institutions to disinvest from companies with a big financial stake in South Africa. This paper provided case studies of leading British companies and their South African interests.

tu14. AAM-SACTU public meeting

The AAM worked closely with the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). This leaflet advertised a meeting organised jointly by the AAM and SACTU, with speakers from two major British trade unions.

tu13. British Leyland and MAWU

This memorandum asked the British labour movement to pressure British Leyland to recognise the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU) in South Africa. Leyland South Africa was a wholly owned subsidiary of British Leyland. The AAM argued that Leyland’s refusal to recognise the union demonstrated the failure of the British government’s code of conduct for British firms operating in South Africa.

pic7701. Week of Trade Union Action

TUC staff and members of the film technicians union ACTT picketed South Africa House on 20 January 1977. They were supporting the worldwide Week of Trade Union Action against Apartheid called by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) from 17 to 24 January. Among the protesters were Alan Sapper, General Secretary of ACTT, and Charles Grieve, General Secretary of the Tobacco Workers Union.