Trade unionists

tu34. ‘Free the trade unionists’

In 1988 the apartheid regime stepped up its repression of the South African trade union movement. This leaflet highlighted four cases where trade unionists were detained or put on trial. It also publicised the situation of trade unionists in Namibia.

pic8813. ‘Ban South African coal’

AAM activists, miners from Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire and Women against Pit Closures protested against a visit by a delegation from the South African coal industry on 21 April 1988. The delegation had come to London to lobby against coal sanctions against South Africa.

tu35. Trade union conference, Glasgow

Trade union support for anti-apartheid activities was especially strong in Scotland. This conference took place in May 1988, as the apartheid government stepped up its attempts to intimidate South African and Namibian trade unionists. It discussed how to involve Scottish trade union members in AAM campaigns and how individual unions could support their sister unions in Southern Africa.

po185. ‘Sisters of the Long March’

‘Sisters of the Long March’ toured Britain, September–December 1988, to win support for South African workers in their long-running dispute with the British-owned company BTR Sarmcol. The Sisters were a seven-woman song and dance group from Natal. They took their show to over 20 venues all over the country. The year before, a theatre group set up by the BTR workers brought their play about the strike ‘The Long March’ to Britain. Both tours were sponsored by the British TUC and supported by the AAM. 

tu45. Sisters of the Long March

Front cover of a booklet about the ‘Sisters of the Long March’, a South African theatre group that toured Britain, September–December 1988, to win support for South African workers in their long-running dispute with the British-owned company BTR Sarmcol. The Sisters were a seven-woman song and dance group from Natal. They took their show to over 20 venues all over the country. The year before, a theatre group set up by the BTR workers brought their play about the strike ‘The Long March’ to Britain. Both tours were sponsored by the British TUC and supported by the AAM. 

pri35. ‘Free the Alex Five’

The Alex Five were civic leaders in Alexandra Township charged with sedition after they set up the Alexandra Action Committee. One of the five was trade union leader Moses Mayekiso. 5,000 of these postcards were distributed in Britain with support from the British Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions. After a long trial the five were acquitted in April 1989. The TUC sent an observer to the trial.

pic8814. Prayer vigil at Kingston Guildhall

AAM supporters held a prayer vigil on the steps of Kingston Guildhall to show their opposition to a proposal by Kingston Council to invest pension funds in South Africa. Kingston Trades Council presented a petition to the Council asking it to reconsider.

pic8734. TUC film advertisement

Still from a film advertisement promoting the boycott of South African goods, made by the TUC. The ad was shown in cinemas throughout Britain. It won the Gold Lion Award at the 34th Cannes International Advertising film Festival.