Many Irish migrants played leading roles in trade unions during the high points of industrial militancy in the 1970s and early 1980s. As well as challenging job losses and pay cuts, trade unions were exercised with debates on the position they should take on the Northern Ireland conflict. They c

The Troubles were a persistent controversy for trade unionists. Some advocated ‘patriotic’ support for their own government, whereas radical trade unionists pushed their union branches and trades councils to declare their opposition to British rule in Ireland. They often accused labour movement organisers of failing to defend Irish trade unionists in Britain against harassment and discrimination. In 1978, for example, a committee chair on Liverpool Trades Council said that the unions’ lack of anti-PTA campaigning represented a ‘blot’ on the labour movement: ‘We have been quiet about what is happening in Northern Ireland’.

Trade Unions