Trade unionists

pic7708. AAM march and rally, 6 March 1977

Trade union banners on a march to Trafalgar Square calling for an end to British arms sales to South Africa and a freeze on investment, 6 March 1977. 

pic7702. AAM march and rally, 6 March 1977

Trade union banners on a march to Trafalgar Square calling for an end to British arms sales to South Africa and a freeze on investment, 6 March 1977.

tu16. Message to TUC delegates

The AAM asked British trade unionists to support African employees of British-owned companies in their demands for union recognition. It the mid-1970s it focused on two firms: Smith and Nephew, which reneged on its recognition agreement with the National Union of Textile Workers (NUTW), and British Leyland, which refused to recognise the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU). This leaflet was distributed at the 1977 TUC. After international pressure Smith and Nephew recognised NUTW in April 1978.

tu17. British Leyland in Britain and in South Africa

British Leyland was one of the main targets of the AAM’s disinvestment campaign in the 1970s. It was one of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in South Africa and was involved in a long-running recognition dispute with the Metal and Allied Workers Union. Coventry Anti-Apartheid Movement worked with local trade unionists to persuade British workers to refuse to work on spare parts for South Africa. This report, sponsored by Coventry AAM and Coventry Trades Council, set out the case for worker to worker solidarity.

po046. Join the Week of Solidarity with the African Workers in South Africa

The International Conference of Trade Unions Against Apartheid held in Geneva in 1977 called for an international week of trade union action in March 1978. The AAM provided information and support for British trade unions taking part in the week. This leaflet asked them to disinvest from companies with South African subsidiaries and lobby the government to support UN economic sanctions against South Africa.

tu18. International Week of Trade Union Action

The International Conference of Trade Unions Against Apartheid held in Geneva in 1977 called for an international week of trade union action to be held in March 1978. The AAM provided information and support for British trade unions taking part in the week. This leaflet asked them to disinvest from companies with South African subsidiaries and lobby the government to support UN economic sanctions against South Africa.

pic7808. Week of trade union solidarity

Trade unionists picketed South Africa House on 15 March 1978 as part of a week of trade union solidarity with South African trade unionists. The solidarity week was initiated by an international trade union conference held in Geneva the previous year.

pic7802. Trade union picket for Solomon Mahlangu

Solomon Mahlangu was sentenced to death on 2 March 1978 after being present at an incident in Johannesburg during which two white bystanders were killed. The AAM organised weekly demonstrations outside South Africa House calling for his release. Thousands signed a petition asking the British government to intervene. This picket was held on 2 August 1978. In the photograph are Bob Wright, Assistant General Secretary of AUEW (Engineering), Jim Slater, General Secretary of the National Union of Seamen (NUS) and members of the NUS Executive.