National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers

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Full name National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers
Founded 1936
Date dissolved 1982
Merged into Transport and General Workers Union
Members 85,500 (1939)[1]
Affiliation ITGLWF, Labour Party, NAUTT, TUC
Key people Jack Peel, Bill Maddocks
Office location National House, Bradford
Country United Kingdom

The National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers (NUDBTW) was a trade union in the United Kingdom.


The union was founded in 1936 with the merger of the National Union of Textile Workers, which was the main union representing workers in the woollen and worsted industries, the Amalgamated Society of Dyers, Finishers and Kindred Trades, and the Operative Bleachers, Dyers and Finishers Association, which represented workers in Lancashire.[2][3] The NUDBTW represented a membership of 85,500 in 1939, of whom 25,500 were women.[1] Dyeing and finishing were predominantly male trades, and thus had a greater union presence than other sections of the British textile industry. The woollen and worsted industries, by contrast, were poorly organised.[4] Closed shop agreements covered the majority of workers employed in textile finishing.[5]

From 1966 to 1973, the union was led by Jack Peel, a controversial figure who left to work for the European Economic Community and later led many attacks on trade unions in the UK. One successor, Bill Maddocks, described him as a "Judas". Under Maddocks' leadership, the union became more campaigning, particularly in opposing the use of benzidine-based dyes.[6]

By the start of the 1980s, membership had fallen to 56,843 due to widespread job losses in the industry. However, membership was boosted when several other unions joined the NUDBTW: the Union of Jute, Flax and Kindred Textile Operatives in 1979,[6] and the Yorkshire Society of Textile Craftsmen and the Huddersfield and District Healders and Twisters Trade and Friendly Society in 1980.[7] After initially considering amalgamation with the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers the NUDBTW merged into the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) in 1982, forming a Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers Trade Group within the TGWU. Existing members of the TGWU who worked in the textile industry transferred into the new trade group, doubling its size.[8][9]

General Secretaries[edit]

1936: Arthur Shaw
1939: George Bagnall
1948: Wilfred Heywood
1957: Leonard Sharp
1966: Jack Peel
1973: Fred Dyson
1979: Bill Maddocks

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cole, G.D.H. (1939). British Trade Unionism Today. Gollancz. p. 251. 
  2. ^ Lemon, Hugo. How to find out about the wool textile industry. p. 74. 
  3. ^ Cole, G.D.H. (1939). British Trade Unionism Today. Gollancz. p. 393. 
  4. ^ Cole, G.D.H. (1939). British Trade Unionism Today. Gollancz. p. 377. 
  5. ^ McCarthy, William Edward John (1964). The Closed Shop in Britain. University of California Press. p. 39. 
  6. ^ a b Exton, Jack; Gill, Colin (1981). The Trade Union Directory. London: Pluto Press. p. 179. 
  7. ^ Chaison, Gary N. (1996). Union Mergers in Hard Times: The View from Five Countries. Ithaca, N.Y.: ILR Press. p. 175. ISBN 9780801483806. 
  8. ^ Chaison, Gary. Union Mergers in Hard Times. p. 176. 
  9. ^ Waddington, Jeremy; Kahmann, Marcus; Hoffmann, Jürgen (2005). A Comparison of the Trade Union Merger Process in Britain and Germany: Joining forces?. Abingdon: Routledge. p. 124. ISBN 0 415 35378 5. Retrieved 11 April 2013.