The first Indian Workers’ Association was founded in London in the 1930s.Set up by immigrant workers from India,and they focussed on agitating for Indian Independence. After this was achieved, the groups became largely moribund.

In 1958, the Indian Workers’ Association (GB) (IWA(GB)) was set up to provide a central national body co-ordinating the activities of the local groups. The Association aimed to improve conditions for immigrant workers, working alongside the mainstream British labour movement. An increasing number of activists joined with the party. The Communist Party of Great Britain also gained influence, as some of the immigrants had formerly been members of the Communist Party of India. However, the large group in Southall distanced itself from the national body, supporting Labour Party candidates, joined the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination and supported the National Committee for Commonwealth ImmigrantsPiara Khabra became President of the Southall group, and later, Labour MP for Ealing Southall.

In 1967, the IWA(GB) split into two groups. One, led by Prem Singh, supported the Communist Party of India (Marxist), while the other, under Jagmohan Joshi, supported China. This second group began working with Black Power activists, but later disappeared. The Singh group thus became the only IWA(GB), joining the Black People’s AllianceAnti-revisionist Harpal Brar became editor of the organisation’s journal, Lalkar. The organisation later supported the Anti-Nazi League.