Zimbabwe: Trades Unions Material

Scope and Content

Zimbabwe: Trades Unions Material, 1959 onwards, including journals, memoranda, conference reports and minutes, pamphlets, addresses, agendas, constitutions, letters, interviews, membership cards and miscellaneous materials issued by the African Farmers' Union of Rhodesia, the African Trades Union Congress of Southern Rhodesia, the Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union, the Central African Power Corporation Staff Association, the Confederation of African Labour, the Fort Victoria Municipal Employees Association, the Industrial Commercial Union (Zimbabwe), the International Federation of Free Trade Unions, the National African Federation of Unions (Zimbabwe), the National Association of Local Government Officers and Employees (Zimbabwe), the Pilots' Association of Rhodesia, the Rhodesia Posts and Telecommunications Association, the Rhodesia Railway Workers' Union, the Salisbury Municipal Employees' Association, the Salisbury Municipal Professional Officers' Association, the Salisbury Municipal Workers' Union, the Southern Rhodesian Trades Union Co-ordinating Committee in the United Kingdom, the Trades Union Congress of Rhodesia, the Typographical Union of Rhodesia, the United Textile Workers' Union of Rhodesia, the University College of Rhodesia Students' Union, the Zimbabwe African Congress of Unions and the Zimbabwe Students Union.

Administrative / Biographical History

Prior to UDI in 1965 only all-white unions and African unions formed after 1959 were legally recognised in what was then Southern Rhodesia, and in addition these unions had to be skill-based rather than general. After 1965, repressive labour policies forced many unionists, including the leadership of the African Trades Union Congress (ATUC), into exile. Given government antipathy and splits within the labour movement, with some unionists advocating a less political stance and association with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) while others left to support the guerrilla war (1966-1980), trade unions remained weak until independence. Subsequently the ZANU-PF regime sought to control the workforce through the creation of a new confederation, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), designed to be compliant with government labour policy. The majority of the materials held here date from before 1980, and originate from both blue and white-collar and African and European unions.


Alphabetically according to union and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT).

Archivist's Note

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

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-1961, 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.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Zimbabwe: Political Parties Material (PP.ZW), Zimbabwe: Pressure Groups Material (PG.ZW) and Rhodesia and Nyasaland: Political Parties Material (PP.RH) 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.

Geographical Names