General Federation of Trade Unions (UK)

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GFTU
General Federation of Trade Unions logo.png
Full name General Federation of Trade Unions
Founded 1899
Members 214,000
Key people Doug Nicholls, General Secretary
Ben Marshall, president
Office location London, England
Country United Kingdom
Website www.gftu.org.uk

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".

History[edit]

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:[1]

By 2016, none of the 1979 members remained as independent unions.

Current role[edit]

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.

Affiliated unions[edit]

Full members[edit]

Associate members[edit]

General Secretaries[edit]

1899: Isaac Mitchell
1907: William A. Appleton
1938: George Bell
1953: Leslie Hodgson
1978: Peter Potts
1991: Michael Bradley
2010: Doug Nicholls

Chairs[edit]

Year Name Union
1899 Pete Curran National Union of Gasworkers and General Labourers
1910 Allan Gee General Union of Weavers and Textile Workers
1912 James O'Grady National Amalgamated Furnishing Trades Association
1918 Thomas Mallalieu Amalgamated Society of Journeymen Felt Hatters
1922 Alfred Short National Union of Docks, Wharves and Shipping Staffs
1924 Fred Birchenough Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners and Twiners
1926 Alex Hutchison National Union of Stove Grate Workers
1928 John Sime Dundee and District Union of Jute and Flax Workers
1930 Charles Kean Wallpaper Workers' Union
1932 William Aucock National Society of Pottery Workers
1934 William Saxon Amalgamated Machine, Engine and Iron Grinders' and Glazers' Society
1936 Joseph Frayne Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing and Ring Room Operatives
1938 Andrew Naesmith Amalgamated Weavers' Association
1940 John Lee Amalgamated Textile Warehousemen's Association
1942 Albert Taylor Rossendale Union of Boot, Shoe and Slipper Operatives
1944 Horace Moulden National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Workers
1946 Frank Dickinson Yorkshire Association of Power Loom Overlookers
1948 Fred Worthington Felt Hatters' and Trimmers' Unions of Great Britain
1950 Albert Knowles Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners and Twiners
1952 Archie Robertson National Association of Card, Blowing and Ring Room Operatives
1954 Cecil Heap Wallpaper Workers' Union
1956 Albert E. Head Chain Makers' and Strikers' Association
1958 Jack Wigglesworth Iron, Steel and Metal Dressers' Society
1959 Alf Tomkins National Union of Furniture Trade Operatives
1961 Robert Driver Rossendale Union of Boot, Shoe and Slipper Operatives
1963 Fred Titherington General Union of Associations of Loom Overlookers
1964 L. Jackson National Society of Pottery Workers
1965 James Whitworth Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners and Twiners
1966 Edwin D. Sleeman Yorkshire Association of Power Loom Overlookers
1967 Robert Doyle Union of Jute, Flax and Kindred Textile Operatives
1968 Frederick Charles Henry Waterproof Garment Workers' Trade Union
1969 Fred Hague Amalgamated Weavers' Association
1970 James Browning National Union of Textile and Allied Workers
1971 Arthur Howcroft General Union of Associations of Loom Overlookers
1972 J. K. W. Arnold Ceramic and Allied Trades Union
1973 Edward Tullock Associated Metalworkers' Union
1974 Harold Gibson National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Workers
1975 Thomas Whittaker Rossendale Union of Boot, Shoe and Slipper Operatives
1976 Margaret Fenwick Union of Jute, Flax and Kindred Textile Operatives
1977 D. Hill Society of Lithographic Artists, Designers and Engravers
1978 David Coates Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union
1979 John Martin National Union of Lock and Metal Workers
1980 Harry M. Wareham Amalgamated Union of Asphalt Workers
1981 Leslie R. Smith Northern Carpet Trades Union
1982 J. J. Quinn Amalgamated Textile Workers Union
1983 Anne Spencer National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers
1984 C. P. McCarthy National Society of Metal Mechanics
1985 David Lambert National Union of Hosiery and Knitwear Workers
1987 James McChristie GMB Union
1989 Michael Murray Rossendale Union of Boot, Shoe and Slipper Operatives
1991 Keith Edmondson Northern Carpet Trades Union
1993 Alfred Hitchmough Amalgamated Society of Textile Workers and Kindred Trades
1995 Ron Marron Associated Metalworkers Union
1997 Tony McCarthy National Union of Domestic Appliances and General Operatives
1999 Terry Pye Manufacturing, Science and Finance
2001 Michael J. Leahy Community
2003 Des Farrell GMB Union
2005 Garry Oakes Ceramic and Allied Trades Union
2007 Doug Nicholls Community and Youth Workers' Union
2009 Joe Marino Bakers, Food and Allied Workers' Union
2011 Joe Mann Community
2013 John Fray National Union of Journalists
2015 Ben Marshall Prospect
2017 John Smith Musicians' Union

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Hyman, Richard (1971). The Workers' Union. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. 
  1. ^ Jack Eaton and Colin Gill, The Trade Union Directory (1979), pp.2-3

External links[edit]