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The General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) is a national trade union centre in the United Kingdom. It has 35 affiliates with a membership of just over 214,000 and describes itself as the "federation for specialist unions".
General Federation of Trade Unions
|Headquarters||86 Wood Lane, Quorn, Leicestershire|
|Doug Nicholls, General Secretary|
In the 1890s, the development of socialist organisations and socialist thinking also found expression in the British trade union movement. Many of the new unions formed during that period were committed to the socialist transformation of society and were critical of the conservatism of the craft unions. The debate revolved around concept of building "one-big-union" which would have the resources to embark on a militant course of action and even change society. This thinking gained strength after the 1897 Engineering Employers Federation lockout which resulted in a defeat for engineering workers.
The view that it was necessary to develop a strong, centralised trade union organisation by forming a federation, which had been rejected only two years earlier, was now endorsed at the Trades Union Congress of September 1897. This resulted in the establishment of the General Federation of Trade Unions at a special Congress of the TUC in 1899, the principal objective of which was to set up a national organisation with a strike fund which could be drawn upon by affiliated trade unions.
GFTU participated in the foundation of the International Federation of Trade Unions at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam in July 1919.
The federation has seen a large turnover of members, due largely to mergers in the movement. In 1979, its members were:
- Amalgamated Association of Beamers, Twisters and Drawers
- Amalgamated Felt Hat Trimers', Woolformers' and Allied Workers' Union
- Amalgamated Society of Journeymen Felt Hatters and Allied Workers
- Amalgamated Textile Workers' Union
- Amalgamated Union of Asphalt Workers
- Associated Metalworkers' Union
- Card Setting Machine Tenters' Society
- Ceramic and Allied Trades Union
- Cloth Pressers' Society
- Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union
- General Union of Associations of Loom Overlookers
- Hinckley Dyers' and Auxiliary Association
- Huddersfield Healders and Twisters Trade and Friendly Society
- Jewel Case and Jewellery Display Makers' Union
- Lancashire Amalgamated Tape Sizers' Association
- Lancashire Box, Packing Case and General Woodworkers' Society
- National Association of Licensed House Managers
- National Society of Brushmakers and General Workers
- National Society of Metal Mechanics
- National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Workers
- National Union of Lock and Metal Workers
- National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers
- Nelson and District Association of Preparatory Workers
- Northern Carpet Trade Union
- Nottingham and District Dyers' and Bleachers' Association
- Rossendale Union of Boot, Shoe and Slipper Operatives
- Scottish Lace and Textile Workers' Union
- Screw, Nut, Bolt and Rivet Trade union
- Society of Shuttlemakers
- Tobacco Mechanics' Association
- Yorkshire Society of Textile Craftsmen
By 2016, none of the 1979 members remained as independent unions.
The GFTU now concentrates on servicing the needs of specialist unions. It does this by providing courses, undertaking research for its affiliated Unions and administering a Pension Scheme for officials and staff of affiliated Unions. In keeping with its original objectives, the Federation pays dispute benefit in appropriate cases to affiliated Unions.
The Governing Body is the Biennial General Council Meeting, attended by delegates from affiliated Unions, at which policy and rule changes are debated and an Executive Committee of 14 members elected to meet on a monthly basis between Biennial General Council Meetings.
The Federation undertakes its Parliamentary activities by working closely with John Mann MP, Member of Parliament Bassetlaw constituency, particularly in respect of proposed legislation.
- Aegis the Union
- Artists' Union England
- Association of Educational Psychologists
- Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union
- Communication Workers' Union
- Coordinating Committee of International Staff Unions and Associations of the United Nations System
- Equal Justice The Union
- Football Medicine and Performance Association
- Gibraltar General and Clerical Association
- Institute of Football Management and Administration
- League Managers Association
- Nautilus International
- NHBC Staff Association
- Pharmacists' Defence Association
- Professional Cricketers' Association
- Professional Footballers' Association
- Psychotherapy and Counselling Union
- Public and Commercial Services Union
- Social Workers' Union
- Society of Union Employees
- Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA)
- Voice (as of October 2020, part of Community)
- Workers' Educational Association
- 1899: Isaac Mitchell
- 1907: William A. Appleton
- 1938: George Bell
- 1953: Leslie Hodgson
- 1978: Peter Potts
- 1991: Michael Bradley
- 2010: Doug Nicholls
- 2023: Gawain Little
- Hyman, Richard (1971). The Workers' Union. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.
- ^ Thelen, Kathleen (2004). How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States, and Japan. Cambridge University Press. pp. 107–109. ISBN 978-0-521-54674-4.
- ^ Todd, Nigel (1975). "Trade Unions and the Engineering Industry Dispute at Barrow-in-Furness, 1897–98". International Review of Social History. 20 (1): 33–47. doi:10.1017/S002085900000482X. ISSN 1469-512X.
- ^ Jack Eaton and Colin Gill, The Trade Union Directory (1979), pp.2-3
- ^ "Community family grows | Voice Community". www.voicetheunion.org.uk. Retrieved 2022-02-22.