T&G’s shameful role in 1960s Bristol bus racism

February 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm (BBC, history, Human rights, immigration, Jim D, protest, Racism, truth, TV, unions, Unite the union, workers)

A BBC South West programme, Inside Out, will tonight look back at the racist practices that stopped black people from working on the buses in Bristol.

In 1963 a young black man in Bristol was refused an interview for a job on the buses because of the colour of his skin.

It sparked a protest which attracted national attention and ultimately led the way to the Race Relations Act.

Bristol bus boycott 50 years on

But for those who had been refused job interviews, there was never an apology from the Bristol Omnibus Company nor from the union (the T&GWU) preventing them getting work on the buses. I’ve heard, but have yet to find confirmation, that Unite has now issued an apology for the racism of its predecessor union.

Reporter Alastair McKee has been to meet and interview some of the people involved in the boycott.

It is essential viewing for anyone with illusions about the history of the Bristish trade union movement, or who thinks UK unions have a qualitively better record on dealing with racism than, say, the Israeli Histadrut. Many of the arguments used at the time by union members and lay officials (see clip above) will have a familiar ring to anyone who follows the antics of today’s anti-EU fanatics of both right and “left.”

Inside Out West is broadcast on Monday, 25 February on BBC One at 19:30 GMT and nationwide for seven days thereafter on the iPlayer.


  1. david walsh said,

    Tony Benn’s diaries for the period cover this episode and his frustration with the local T&G. I hope he is interviewed for the programme.

  2. The Judge said,

    I wonder, Denham, if you are *really* so concerned with what happened to Afro-Caribbeans who were shamefully denied work fifty years ago, or whether it’s just another pathetic excuse for you to clutch your pearls and scream, “OMG! Teh Anti-Semites! They’re *everywhere*, I tell you!”. I strongly suspect the latter, given all that we know about you.

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

      JURDGE is demented cracKKPOtt

  3. Jim Denham said,

    Mr “Judge”: I’d gladly take those pearls and stuff them down your dirty, racist, antisemitic throat.

  4. Michael Moran said,

    Who is the judge?

    British unions are still hideously racist. Look at the attitude of uions towards the EU, migration, the complete refusal of white and wealthy unionists to recruit and organise the poorest of the poor.

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