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Transport and General Workers' Union

The Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU or T&G) was one of the largest general trade unions in the United Kingdom and Ireland – where it was known as the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union (ATGWU) to differentiate itself from the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union – with 900,000 members (and was once the largest trade union in the world). It was founded in 1922, and its first general secretary was Ernest Bevin.

T&G
TGWU logo.png
Full nameTransport and General Workers' Union
Founded1 January 1922
Date dissolved1 May 2007
Merged intoUnite
Members800,000 (2006)
JournalTGWU Record
AffiliationTUC, ICTU, STUC, ITF, IUF, Labour
Key peopleTony Woodley, general secretary
Office locationLondon, England
CountryUnited Kingdom, Ireland
Websitetgwu.org.uk
Transport and General Workers' Union central office
Transport and General Workers' Union Bristol office

In 2007, it merged with Amicus to form Unite the Union.

HistoryEdit

At the time of its creation in 1922, the TGWU was the largest and most ambitious amalgamation brought about within trade unionism. Its structure combined regional organisation, based on Districts and Areas, with committee organisation by occupation, based on six broad Trade Groups. Trade groups were not closely linked to trades, but were elected by activists. Officials of the union were grouped by region, and could be asked to serve each or any trade group.

Docks GroupEdit

The Docks Group was created in 1922 to represent former members of the following unions:

The group originally had a subsection for coal shipping.[1] In 1928, it had 96,000 members, but over time, membership of the group declined along with employment on the docks, dropping to 56,000 in 1966, and had 51,153 in 1980.[1][2]

Waterways GroupEdit

The Waterways Group was created in 1922 to represent former members of the Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen. Always one of the smallest sections, it had only 8,000 members in 1928, and 16,000 in 1966.[2] In 1970, it was merged into the Docks Group.

Administrative, Clerical and Supervisory GroupEdit

The Administrative, Clerical and Supervisory Group was created in 1922 to represent former members of the following unions:

There was often ambiguity in the TGWU over the actual name of its white-collar section. From the 1960s it was generally known as ACTS (Administrative, Clerical, Technical and Supervisory) but also sometimes as the ACTSS (Association of Clerical, Technical and Supervisory Staff) and enamel union badges bearing both sets of initials were produced for members. It was noted for an enquiry by the Certification Office in 2006 into board members who had joined the union within six months of being elected to senior posts.

The group grew significantly over time, having only 5,000 members in 1928, but 62,000 by 1966, and 149,801 members in 1980.[1][2]

Road Transport (Passenger and Commercial) GroupsEdit

The Road Transport group was created in 1922 to represent former members of the following unions:

Later in 1922, the group was split into Road Transport (Passenger) and Road Transport (Commercial) groups.[1] The Passenger group had 79,000 members in 1928 and 181,000 in 1966, but by 1980, the renamed Passenger Services group had dropped to only 44,501 members. The Commercial Services group rose from 37,000 members in 1928 to 219,000 in 1966, and 226,290 in 1980.[1][2]

General Workers GroupEdit

The General Workers Group was created in 1922 to cater for all workers in jobs which did not fall into another group. Initially, it had subsections for workers in metal and chemical trades. Once it was considered that a particular field had enough members to justify its own trade group, it was split out. These decisions were made at the Biennial Delegate Conference, and although there were many applications to form new trade groups, most were unsuccessful. The group had 68,000 members in 1928, and it then doubled in size when the Workers' Union merged into the TGWU.[1] By 1966, it had 338,000 members and, despite the splitting out of further groups in 1970, by 1980 it still had 269,845 members.[1][2]

The first groups to be split out were:

Later mergersEdit

The Scottish Union of Dock Labourers and National Union of Dock, Riverside and General Workers in Great Britain and Ireland initially voted not to amalgamate, but a new voted changed their position, and they joined before the end of 1922, along with the Amalgamated Carters, Lurrymen and Motormen's Union, Greenock Sugar Porters' Union, Dundee Flax and Jute Stowers' Society, National Union of British Fishermen, and Belfast Breadservers' Association. Some of these unions retained a great deal of autonomy and in many ways effectively functioned as separate unions, even being registered separately with the Registrar of Friendly Societies. The biggest merger was with the Workers' Union in 1929, the union being fully integrated into the TGWU in 1931.[2]

CampaignsEdit

The Transport and General Workers' Union spearheaded the campaign for the registration of Gangmasters in the UK, sponsoring an Act of Parliament which received the Royal Assent on 8 July 2004.[3]

Merger with AmicusEdit

During 2005 discussions started between the TGWU, Amicus and the GMB about the possibility of merging the three unions into one organisation with potentially 2.5 million members covering almost every sector of the economy. On 14 June 2006 the GMB Conference voted not to continue with discussions although the other two unions are proceeding, with delegates approving the proposed 'Instrument of Amalgamation' at a special conference on 18 December 2006. The ballot of both unions' membership during February and early March 2007, also approved the merger. The result of the ballot was announced on 8 March 2007: 86.4 per cent of T&G members and 70.1 per cent of Amicus members voted to support the merger, from a turnout of 27%. The press release announced that the resulting union had the working title "New Union" and the name would be decided by a ballot of the membership.[4] However, on 2 April 2007, The Times reported that the name Unite had been chosen.[5] and that full merger of rule books and governing bodies may soon follow the existing merger of personnel and finance departments [6]

AffiliationsEdit

OfficersEdit

General SecretariesEdit

1922: Ernest Bevin
1945: Arthur Deakin (acting from 1940)
1955: Jock Tiffin
1956: Frank Cousins
1964: Harry Nicholas (acting)
1969: Jack Jones
1978: Moss Evans
1985: Ron Todd
1992: Bill Morris
2003: Tony Woodley

Deputy General SecretariesEdit

1974: Harry Urwin
1980: Alec Kitson
1986: Bill Morris
1992: Jack Adams
1999: Margaret Prosser
2002: Tony Woodley
2003: Jack Dromey

Assistant General SecretariesEdit

1924: John Cliff
1935: Arthur Deakin
1945: Harold Clay
1948: Jock Tiffin
1955: Frank Cousins
1956: Harry Nicholas
1968: Harry Urwin
1974: Vacant
1985: Eddie Haigh and Larry Smith
1988: Eddie Haigh
1991: Vacant?
1999: Barry Camfield and Jimmy Elsby

AmalgamationsEdit

The list of TGWU amalgamations highlights the scale of the TGWU policy of mergers, amalgamations and transfers of engagements, which contributed to its membership growth and the spread of its membership base.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Eaton, Jack; Gill, Colin (1981). The Trade Union Directory. London: Pluto Press. pp. 54–68. ISBN 0861043502.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Hyman, Richard (1971). The Workers' Union. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 170.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 March 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]

External linksEdit