Bathurst Trade Union

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The Bathurst Trade Union was the first trade union organization in Bathurst, today Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. It was founded by Edward Francis Small in 1929, out of the Carpenters' and Shipwrights' Society. Small became the chairman of BTU. In October the same year the BTU was joined by other craftsmen associations. BTU received support from the British Labour Research Department and the British section of the League against Imperialism. In the fall of 1929, BTU led a 3-week strike. Its membership grew rapidly. By April 1930 it claimed a membership of around 1000.

However, the BTU was torn apart by internal divisions. In 1932 Small was challenged over the BTU leadership by J. L. Njie. The conflict had both political and ethnic aspects (Njie was a Wolof). Njie had the support of the conservative elites of the city, who were uncomfortable with Small's activism. In March 1933, Njie registered the BTU with himself as its chairman. Small tried to regain power of the BTU for two years, but in May 1935 he broke away and formed the Gambia Labour Union instead.[1]


  1. ^ Hughes, Arnold ; Perfect, Davi. Trade Unionism in the Gambia , in African Affairs, Vol. 88, No. 353. (Oct., 1989), pp. 549-572.