UNITE History Volume 3 (1945-1960)

BookUNITE History Volume 3 (1945-1960)

UNITE History Volume 3 (1945-1960)

The Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU): Post War Britain, the Welfare State and the Cold War


September 15th, 2022





This is the third volume on the history of the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU), covering the period 1945 to 1960, and starting with an extraordinary moment in its history. There were such high hopes with the election of Attlee’s Labour government, committed to a series of radical reforms, establishing the Welfare State and nationalising key sectors of the economy. These reforms seemed to offer unique opportunities to move forwards towards what Nye Bevan, the main architect of the NHS, saw as a ‘new world both at home and abroad’. Or did it? This volume explores the challenges as well as the opportunities for radical reform, as these played out between 1945 and 1960. There was renewed industrial unrest, with disputes in the docks and transport industries, despite the best efforts of the Labour Government to contain them. Much remained to be achieved in terms of equalities, and there were challenges when it came to calls for international solidarity in the Cold War context. But still, there had been major developments in terms of trade union education. The T&G had become a much more democratic organisation, and, overall, was a more powerful, progressive force by the end of this period. This volume explores issues with continuing relevance for the trade union and labour movement.


Author Information

Marjorie Mayo is Emeritus Professor of Community Development at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Chapter one: Post-war opportunities and challenges
Chapter two: Class struggles in the T&G from 1945 to 1960
Chapter three: International solidarity – or not?
Chapter four: Struggles for equalities
Chapter five: Using education to build the union, 1945-1960
Chapter six: Debates on democracy and alternative futures