UNITE History Volume 4 (1960-1974)

BookUNITE History Volume 4 (1960-1974)

UNITE History Volume 4 (1960-1974)

The Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU): 'The Great Tradition of Independent Working Class Power'


October 15th, 2022





The fourteen years between 1960 and-1974 saw the trade union and labour movement transformed. In 1959 Labour had been beaten at the polls for the third successive time – with political commentators claiming that class politics in Britain were dead. By 1974 a mobilised trade union movement had forced a Conservative government from office, compelled the abandonment of its anti-trade union legislation, released imprisoned dockers from Pentonville prison and twice provided the miners with the solidarity required for victory. The climax in 1974 was Labour victory in the 1974 a general election with a programme calling for an irreversible shift of wealth and power in favour of working people.
This volume of the TGWU’s centenary history documents the role of Britain’s biggest union in this transformation. Two remarkable general secretaries, Frank Cousins and Jack Jones, provided leadership. However, it was the TGWU’s members who achieved it: the women and men in the factories, transport depots and docks, who forged the new class unity. The book records their voices. It brings together their struggles from Clydeside, Dublin and Belfast to Longbridge, Dagenham and Heathrow – and it does so with a wealth of new material revealing the tactics of government and employers and the complexity of the struggles for sex equality and against racial discrimination that helped cement the new class unity.


Author Information

John Foster is Emeritus Professor, Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
General Introduction
Section 1 1960-66
1.Making Working People Bear the Burden
2. The Public Ownership of the Means of Production, Distribution and Exchange
3. Labour in Government – but not Power
Section 2 1966-1970
4. Holding the TGWU to the Left
5. Defeating In Place of Strife
Section 3 1970-74
6. Assembling the Forces for Victory
7. Working class unity
8. Victory and issues of trade union power