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Trinidad and Tobago: Trades Unions Material

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0101 TU.TR
Held at: Institute of Commonwealth Studies
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Full title: Trinidad and Tobago: Trades Unions Material
Date(s): 1948-
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 3 boxes
Name of creator(s): Institute of Commonwealth Studies
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Trinidad and Tobago labour movement was particularly significant in the 1960s and 1970s, the period from which most of the materials in this collection originate. Particularly well represented are the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union (OWTU), an organisation whose significance mirrored the importance of oil to the country's economy, and the All Trinidad Sugar Estates and Factories Workers Trade Union (ATSE/FWTU), who represented the largely East Indian sugar cane workers. Though Trinidad and Tobago was unusual in the Caribbean area in that unions tended not to affiliate to political parties, this is not to say that they did not involve themselves in politics - as shown here by the polemics issued by OWTU leader George Weekes against the ruling People's National Movement (PNM), accused of selling out the workers. Also represented here are union federations, of which the most prominent were the Trinidad and Tobago Labour Congress and the Council of Progressive Trade Unions, and many smaller organisations. Following the economic downturn of the 1980s and the opening up of the previously state-dominated economy, union membership and influence declined, but a significant proportion of the workforce continues to be unionised and materials continue to be collected.


Scope and content/abstract:

Trinidad and Tobago trade union material, 1948 onwards, comprising rulebooks, memorandums, reports, letters, wage schedules, conference reports, pamphlets, constitutions, statements, newsletters, memoranda of agreement, and addresses issued by the All Trinidad Sugar Estates & Factories Workers Trade Union, the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers Trade Union, the Civil Service Association of Trinidad and Tobago, the Council of Progressive Trade Unions (Trinidad and Tobago), the Employers' Consultative Association of Trinidad & Tobago, the National Federation of Trade Unions (Trinidad and Tobago), the National Trades Union Congress (Trinidad and Tobago), the National Union of Sugar Workers (Trinidad and Tobago), the National Workers' Trade Union (Trinidad and Tobago), the Non-Academic Staff Association of the University of the West Indies (Saint Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago), the Oilfields Workers' Trade Union, the Public Services Association (Trinidad and Tobago), the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (Trinidad and Tobago), the Trinidad and Tobago Labour Congress, and the Trinidad and Tobago Union of Commercial and Industrial Workers.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Alphabetically by union, and then in rough chronological order.

Conditions governing access:

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Finding aids:

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archival Information

Archival history:

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on 'primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos.' (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also Trinidad and Tobago: Political Parties Material (PP:TR) and Trinidad and Tobago: Pressure Groups Material (PG:TR), as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Created 02/11/2004 AIM25

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