Volume Four 1961 - 1974


The working class resurgent


The years 1970 to 1974 saw a united trade union movement defeat a Conservative government and commit Labour to a left-wing programme promising an ‘irreversible shift of wealth and power in favour of working people’. 

This volume will examine the role of the TGWU in this transformation.  It will focus on the development of a mass shop stewards movement in the 1960s, the formation of an industrial and political alliance between the TGWU and the engineering union and, within this, an increasing readiness to take up issues of international solidarity, against Apartheid South Africa and post-coup Chile, and to challenge sexist and racist conventions within the union and the workplace.  It will examine the role of Frank Cousins as general secretary leading opposition to nuclear weapons and any dilution of the socialist principles of the Labour Party and, as a cabinet minister, resigning in protest at the Wilson government’s enforcement of an income policy. It will detail the role of Jack Jones in cementing the alliance with Hugh Scanlon and the engineering union, the role of the two unions in halting Labour’s plans to place legal restrictions on the shop stewards movement in 1969 and then in the development of a militant rank and file movement against the incoming Conservative government’s anti-trade union laws - a movement that saw the London dockers challenge and defeat the government, mass solidarity with the miners and a wave of over two hundred workplace occupations that began to challenge the conventions of capitalist ownership.  





Betty Gallacher

Standing Up For All Workers


“Oi you! I need a word with you”.
It might not be at the cutting edge of political dialogue but it was a wonderful means of communicating for Betty Gallacher; for Betty

was not your typical senior trade union lay official. She was our first female senior shop steward on the London buses and a beacon in the battle for LGBT+ rights.

‘Betty’s bus’ was the most distinctive feature of London Pride for many years, and since then she has managed to migrate her energy and realise her ambition by bringing ‘Pride’ events to the South Coast where she retired with her partner Mandy.