Conference: Trade Unions in the Global South, From Imperial Rule to the Present Day

Gareth Curless

Where: 9am-5.30pm, Friday 13 June 2014, Congress House, London

To mark the important role that trade unions have played in popular protests in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, History & Policy’s Trade Union Forum and the Trades Union Congress will host a one day conference. The conference will reflect on the relationship between trade unions and the state in the Global South, as well as the role of labour movements in popular protests from the end of imperial rule to the present day.

This event is funded by the ESRC. It is free to attend and open to all but space is limited. Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. To reserve your place please contact Gareth Curless (, University of Exeter. 

Registration and Welcome, 9.00-9.30
 Panel One, 9.30-10.20

Craig Phelan, Kingston University. ‘Trade Unions and ‘Responsible Participation’: Dahomey, 1958-1978.’


David Hyde, University of East London. ‘The East African Railway Strike 1959-60: Labour’s Challenge of Inter-Territorialism.’


 Coffee Break, 10.20-10.35


 Panel Two, 10.35-11.25


Jim Moher, Institute of Contemporary British History, King’s College London. ‘History of Trade Unions in Ireland, North and South.’


Yann Béliard, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle. ‘1922, the Workers’ Dreadnought Looks South: the ‘Rand Revolution’ in Debate.’


Coffee Break, 11.25-11.40


Panel Three, 11.40-12.30


Mathilde von Bülow, The University of Nottingham. ‘Local activism versus Cold-War internationalism: the West German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB) and the Algerian war of independence, 1954-1962.’


Larissa Rosa Correa, International Institute of Social History. ‘The boundaries between the international solidarity and the foreign interventionism: Brazilian and American labor relations during the dictatorship in Brazil (1960s and 70s).’


Lunch, 12.30-13.30


 Panel Four, 13.30-14.20


Will Berridge, The University of Northampton. ‘The Modern Forces? Labour and Professional Unions in the 1964 October Revolution and 1985 April Intifada in Sudan.’

Anne Alexander, The University of Cambridge. ‘Trade Unions and the State in Egypt: 1952 – 2013.’


 Coffee Break, 14.20-14.35


 Panel Five, 14.35-15.25


Peter Dwyer, Ruskin College. ‘From Marikana to Boksburg; a Fork in the Road for the South African Labour Movement?’


Pauline Dibben, The University of Sheffield. ‘Trade Unions and Employment Security in Mozambique: Mobilising for Change?’


 Coffee Break, 15.25-15.40


 Panel Six, 15.40-16.30


Gareth Curless, The University of Exeter. ‘Trade Unions and Decolonisation in Singapore, 1945-1965.’

Spencer Mawby, The University of Nottingham. ‘Workers in the Vanguard: Trade Unions, Industrial Relations Law and the Struggle for Independence in Aden 1955-1967.’


Roundtable Discussion, 16.30-17.30


Chair: Owen Tudor, Head of European and International Relations Department, the TUC.


Francis Atwoli, Secretary General of the Kenyan Central Organisation of Trade Unions.

Sir Leroy Trotman, General Secretary Barbados Workers’ Union (TBC).

Annie Watson, Former Director of the Commonwealth Trade Union Council.

19 thoughts on “Conference: Trade Unions in the Global South, From Imperial Rule to the Present Day

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