Universal Alliance of Diamond Workers

The Universal Alliance of Diamond Workers (UADW) was a small global union federation bringing together workers in the diamond polishing and jewellery making.

Universal Alliance of Diamond Workers
Alliance Universelle des Ouvriers Diamantaires
Merged intoInternational Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions
Headquarters66-68 Plantin-en-Moretuslei, Antwerp
10,100 (1982)



The federation was founded in Antwerp in 1905.[1] Its aims were to provide information on the industrial and social situations relevant to its members, and to conduct its own research.[2]

In its early years, the federation grew, representing 22,700 workers by 1913.[1] But this gradually declined; by 1982, the federation had affiliates in Belgium, France, Israel, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, but they represented a total of only 10,100 members, making it by far the smallest global union federation.[2]

The federation remained at around 10,000 workers until 1993, when member unions in the Belgium, Israel and the Netherlands decided to relaunch it, with a focus on attracting unions outside Europe. It began campaigning against poor labour practices in diamond mining, including a call for children under 14 being banned from working in the industry, and a ban on dangerous cobalt "scaifes" (polishing wheels).[1][3] This was successful, and by 2006 had members in Africa, Asia and Latin America.[4]

In September 2000, the federation merged into the much larger International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions.[4]



In 1960, the following unions were affiliated to the federation:[5]

Union Country Affiliated membership
General Diamond Workers' Association of Belgium Belgium 7,000
General Dutch Industrial Union for the Metal and Electrical Industries Netherlands 800
National Federation of French Diamond Workers' Unions France 400
National Union of Diamond Workers Israel 2,000
Society of Goldsmiths, Jewellers and Kindred Trades United Kingdom 260



General Secretaries

1905: Jef Groesser[6]
1910: J. Jans[6]
1912: Louis van Berckelaer[6]
1936: Alf Daems[6]
1946: Franz Schoeters[6]
1980s: Constant Denisse
1990s: Jef Hoymans


1905: Henri Polak[6]
1946: Pieter Van Muijden[6]
1950: Ies Mug[6]
1958: H. Van Eerde


  1. ^ a b c Docherty, James C.; van der Velden, Sjaak (2012). Historical Dictionary of Organized Labor. Scarecrow Press. pp. 285–286. ISBN 0810879883.
  2. ^ a b Marsh, Arthur (1984). Trade Union Handbook (3 ed.). Aldershot: Gower. p. 93–94. ISBN 0566024268.
  3. ^ Farrell-Robert, Janine (2007). Glitter & Greed: The Secret World of the Diamond Cartel. Red Wheel Weiser. ISBN 1609258800.
  4. ^ a b "Diamond And Allied Workers Join ICEM". IndustriALL. ICEM. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  5. ^ Goldberg, Arthur (1960). Directory of International Trade Union Organizations. Washington DC: United States Department of Labour. pp. 3.1–3.7.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Yearbook of the International Free Trade Union Movement. London: Lincolns-Prager. 1957–1958. p. 520.