The Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) was founded in 1973. It organised in the passenger transport, goods transport, stevedores, motor ferry, municipal, cement products, hospitals, cleaning and security sectors. It was formed as a direct response to the Transvaal-based PUTCO bus company workers’ strike of June 1972.

TGWU’s headquarters were in Johannesburg, with branches in the Transvaal, Natal and the Eastern Cape. It grew by successfully improving the conditions of its members, especially at PUTCO and in Port Elizabeth where it also assisted white workers. It affiliated itself to the Trade Union Advisory and Coordinating Council (TUACC) in 1974.

By the 1980s its membership exceeded 20 000 in the transport sector. In 1986 GWU merged with TGWU. Lydis Kompe became an organiser after joining the union mobilising workers in Johannesburg rising to become head of the Transvaal region.

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