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Women (62)
tu11. ‘Solidarity with black South African workers’

In 1973 thousands of African workers went on strike in Durban, heralding a new worker militancy and the growth of independent trade unions in the 1970s. This AAM leaflet expressed solidarity with the striking workers and accused British companies of profiting from starvation wages.

pic8629. Boycotting Barclays on Tyneside

Leafletting Barclays Bank customers to persuade them to withdraw their accounts was a regular activity for most local anti-apartheid groups. The leafletting sessions were part of the long-running campaign to persuade Barclays to pull out of South Africa. In the photograph supporters of Tyneside AA Group are asking customers at a Barclays branch in central Newcastle to close their accounts. Later in the same year Barclays withdrew from South Africa.

tsh32. Free the Children of Southern Africa

T-shirt produced for the campaign to highlight the detention of children in South Africa organised by Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS). The campaign arose from a conference held in Harare in 1987 at which children from South Africa testified about their torture in detention. It was carried forward at a meeting held on 23 April 1988 at City University, London by the Harare Working Group.

tu13. British Leyland and MAWU

This memorandum asked the British labour movement to pressure British Leyland to recognise the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU) in South Africa. Leyland South Africa was a wholly owned subsidiary of British Leyland. The AAM argued that Leyland’s refusal to recognise the union demonstrated the failure of the British government’s code of conduct for British firms operating in South Africa.

tu17. British Leyland in Britain and in South Africa

British Leyland was one of the main targets of the AAM’s disinvestment campaign in the 1970s. It was one of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in South Africa and was involved in a long-running recognition dispute with the Metal and Allied Workers Union. Coventry Anti-Apartheid Movement worked with local trade unionists to persuade British workers to refuse to work on spare parts for South Africa. This report, sponsored by Coventry AAM and Coventry Trades Council, set out the case for worker to worker solidarity.

tu14. Southern Africa conference programme

From 1969, the AAM held regular conferences for British trade unionists on Southern Africa. This conference took place in 1976, when South African workers were striking in support of school students in the protests that swept South Africa after the Soweto uprising.

pic8606. ‘Church Commissioners – Disinvest from Apartheid’

Supporters of End Loans to Southern Africa (ELTSA) held a vigil outside outside Church House, Westminster on 29 July. They called on the Church Commissioners, who administered the Church of England’s large investment portfolio, to sell its shares in companies with investments in South Africa.

pic8707. Shell boycott campaign

On 1 March 1987 the AAM launched a boycott of Shell as part of an international campaign organised with groups in the USA and the Netherlands. Shell was joint owner of one of South Africa’s biggest oil refineries. It was a lead company in South Africa’s coalmining and petrochemicals industries. During the March Month of People’s Sanctions activists picketed Shell garages all over Britain. The photograph shows Frances Morrell, Leader of the ILEA (Inner London Education Authority) with David Haslam from Embargo outside a Shell garage in north London with a mock gun symbolising Shell’s support for the South African Defence Force. Embargo was a co-ordinating group set up to campaign against oil supplies to South Africa.

tu15. AAM-SACTU public meeting

The AAM worked closely with the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). This leaflet advertised a meeting organised jointly by the AAM and SACTU in 1977, with speakers from two major British trade unions.

bdg34. Walking for Soweto

From the late 1970s local AA groups held annual sponsored walks to raise funds for the ANC’s Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College on Tanzania. The walks took place around 16 June, the anniversary of the school students uprising in Soweto. Anti-apartheid supporters in Brent, north-west London, wore this badge on their walk in 1984.

tu16. Message to TUC delegates

The AAM asked British trade unionists to support African employees of British-owned companies in their demands for union recognition. It the mid-1970s it focused on two firms: Smith and Nephew, which reneged on its recognition agreement with the National Union of Textile Workers (NUTW), and British Leyland, which refused to recognise the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU). This leaflet was distributed at the 1977 TUC. After international pressure Smith and Nephew recognised NUTW in April 1978.

pic8709. Sheffield AAM supporters picket a Shell garage

Sheffield AAM picketed a Shell garage as part of an international week of action to force Shell to pull out of South Africa, 11–17 May 1987. All over Britain local anti-apartheid groups picketed Shell garages asking motorists to boycott Shell. The AAM launched its ‘Boycott Shell’ campaign on 1 March. Shell was joint owner of one of South Africa’s biggest oil refineries. It was a lead company in South Africa’s coalmining and petrochemicals industries.

lgs01. ‘Rhodesia Month’ motorcade, June 1966

In June 1966, Thames Valley AA Group organised a motorcade from Slough to Reading to publicise the AAM’s campaign for no independence before majority rule in Rhodesia. The AAM asked the Labour government to support UN mandatory sanctions against Rhodesia and South Africa. The ‘Rhodesia Month’ culminated in a march through central London and rally in Trafalgar Square on 26 June.

tu18. International Week of Trade Union Action

The International Conference of Trade Unions Against Apartheid held in Geneva in 1977 called for an international week of trade union action to be held in March 1978. The AAM provided information and support for British trade unions taking part in the week. This leaflet asked them to disinvest from companies with South African subsidiaries and lobby the government to support UN economic sanctions against South Africa.

boy10. Stop South African Coal!

In 1986 the British National Union of Mineworkers and the AAM launched a new campaign to stop South African coal imports into the UK. Coal imports to Western Europe rose sharply in the mid-1980s. Coal became South Africa’s second biggest export earner after gold. 30,000 copies of this leaflet were distributed to trade unionists at May Day rallies in 1987, asking them to take action to stop the trade.

pic8710. Southwark boycott of Shell

The leader of Southwark Council in south London, Anne Matthews, joined a picket of a local Shell garage in May 1987. The picket was part of an international week of action, when the AAM’s London Committee organised demonstrations outside over 100 Shell garages in London. Shell was joint owner of one of South Africa’s biggest oil refineries. It was a lead company in South Africa’s coalmining and petrochemicals industries. The AAM launched its ‘Boycott Shell’ campaign on 1 March 1987.

tu20. Message to TUC delegates

Every year the AAM held a fringe meeting and distributed information on Southern Africa at the TUC annual congress. This message to delegates at the 1980 congress asked them to support African municipal workers on strike in South Africa. It also highlighted AAM campaigns for the release of Nelson Mandela, against nuclear collaboration with South Africa and the boycott of South African goods.

tu21. TUC fringe meeting, 1981

Every year the AAM lobbied delegates and held a fringe meeting at the TUC annual congress. This leaflet advertised a meeting at the 1981 TUC.

pic8815. ‘Boycott Shell’

Hammersmith and Fulham AA Group members held a year-long weekly picket of this Shell garage on Fulham Road in west London. The photograph shows health workers from Charing Cross Hospital at the protest. On 1 March 1987 the AAM launched a boycott of Shell as part of an international campaign organised jointly with groups in the USA and the Netherlands. Shell was joint owner of one of South Africa’s biggest oil refineries and a lead company in its coalmining and petrochemicals industries.

tsh42. ‘Support South African Women’

T-shirt produced by the ANC Women’s Section. ANC women members in exile in Britain worked closely with the AAM Women’s Committee. Activities included highlighting the situation of women political prisoners and collecting goods for women in ANC camps and the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College in Tanzania.

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