Trinidad and Tobago: Trades Unions Material

Scope and Content

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.

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.


Alphabetically by 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 1960-61, 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.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form

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.