National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers logo.jpg
Full name National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers
Founded 20 July 1906
Date dissolved 1982
Merged into Transport and General Workers' Union (Agricultural Section)
Journal The Landworker
Key people George Nicholls (President), George Edwards (Secretary), Richard Winfrey (Treasurer), William "Bill" Holmes (General Secretary).
Country United Kingdom

The National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers (NUAW) was a trade union in the United Kingdom which existed between 1906 and 1982. It represented farmworkers.


The union was established as the Eastern Counties Agricultural Labourers & Small Holders Union at a conference of Norfolk agricultural workers at the Angel Hotel, North Walsham on 20 July 1906. Its first President was George Nicholls, its Secretary (on 13 shillings a week) was George Edwards and its Treasurer was Richard Winfrey. The other members of its Executive Committee were J. Binder, J. Sage, William G. Codling, Herbert Day, J. Bly, C. Holman and J. Stibbins.[1]

The first three branches of the union were in Norfolk at St Faith's (former stronghold of Joseph Arch's old National Agricultural Labourers Union) and Kenninghall and Shipham.[1]

In 1910 major strikes and disputes broke out in the Norfolk villages of Trunch, Knapton and St Faith's. At St Faith's, the 105 union men were on stri,ke from May 1910 until February 1911 for 1 shilling a week extra.[1]

The organisation changed its name in 1910 to the National Agricultural Labourers and Rural Workers Union.[1] Edwards stood down as Secretary in 1913, but then took up the post of President.[2] In 1920, the union became the National Union of Agricultural Workers, and in 1968 the "National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers".[1][3]

The union's stronghold was in Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Dorset with over 90% of agricultural labourers being in membership.[citation needed]

William "Bill" Holmes, NUAW General Secretary once told an audience of American trade unionists: "In many of our villages, a man who joins a trade union is worthy of the Victoria Cross that's won on a battlefield. In many villages he dare not be known to be a member of the union. But to be a branch secretary! That is to risk one's livelihood every day in the week".

The union's journal was The Landworker.

The union became the Agricultural Section of the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1982. The Dorset County Committee organises the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs festival along with the TUC.

General Secretaries[edit]

1906: George Edwards
1913: Robert Barrie Walker
1928: Bill Holmes
1944: Alf Dann
1953: Harold Collison
1969: Reg Bottini
1978: Jack Boddy


1906: George Nicholls
1911: Walter Robert Smith[4]
1924: Bill Holmes
1928: Edwin Gooch
1966: Bert Hazell
1978: John Hose


  1. ^ a b c d e Groves, Reg (2011). Sharpen the Sickle!:The History of the Farm Workers' Union. Merlin Press. ISBN 0-85036-695-X. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Edwards, Sir George", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of Trade Unions, vol.2, pp.300-301
  4. ^ "DEATH OF MR. W. R. SMITH". Northampton Mercury. 27 February 1942. Retrieved 17 November 2015 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 

See also[edit]