GCHQ Trade Union Campaign

Scope and Content

The archive of the GCHQ Trade Union Campaign includes minutes of members' meetings, 1984-97; Campaign Team minutes, 1992-6; subject files (including re disciplinary action, 1986-9); general correspondence, 1984-97; 'Warning Signal', 1984-97; and campaign leaflets, 1984-97.

Administrative / Biographical History

The GCHQ trade union campaign began after the decision by the Conservative government in January 1984 to ban unions at the GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters) intelligence gathering centre in Cheltenham. Eventually 14 workers were dismissed because of their refusal to resign their union membership. The GCHQ campaign became one of the most important trade union issues during the 1980s and 1990s. With the election of a Labour government in May 1997, the rights of trade unionists at GCHQ were partially restored and the campaign ended.

Reference: Hugh Lanning and Richard Norton-Taylor, 'A conflict of loyalties: GCHQ 1984-1991' (Cheltenham, 1991).

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/using/

Acquisition Information

The GCHQ Trade Union Campaign archive was deposited at the Centre in December 1997 by Mike Grindley and Brian Johnson, two of the most prominent members of the campaign.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Researchers will also find material on the GCHQ campaign in the registry files of the TUC, which are held at the Centre (ref. MSS.292D/253.144, boxes 905-911), though a ten year closure restriction applies to TUC files. In addition, there is a small deposit of campaign publications, 1984-7, in the Miscellaneous Series (ref. MSS.21/2018/1-8).