This project will survey UNITE’s history from 1920-2010. The history of the TGWU will be its core, with a significant emphasis on the union’s regions. It will not be a ‘standard’ academic history to be read only by interested enthusiasts. Instead its focus will centre on involving members in writing and researching their own history and devising ways in which this history can be a key part of an education programme for the union’s membership.
The history will be covered by six accessible volumes covering the national scene. This will be supplemented by regional studies to be researched and written by members, complemented by oral histories of key activists, videos and images. All material collected will be stored on a PC and server as a lasting archive and research resource. In addition there will be a dedicated website hosting national and regional written, oral and visual material.
Several key themes will underpin the project. These will include issues of equality, internationalism, the wider labour movement and its attitude to the conflict between capital and labour. Thus the project as a whole will move ‘beyond functionalism’ to an understanding of the wider political role of the trade union movement in the battle for social change.