National Union of General Workers (UK)

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National Union of General Workers
Founded 1889
Date dissolved 1924
Merged into National Union of General and Municipal Workers
Key people Will Thorne, General Secretary
Country United Kingdom

The National Union of General Workers (NUGW) was an early general union in the United Kingdom.

The union was founded in 1889 as the National Union of Gas Workers and General Labourers by Will Thorne, Ben Tillett and William Byford, following lay offs at Beckton gas works. Thorne was elected as the General Secretary, a post he held throughout the life of the union, and successfully argued that the organisation should campaign for an eight-hour working day, rather than an increase in wages. This demand was quickly won, and membership soon rose to over 20,000.[1]

In 1916, the organisation renamed itself the "National Union of General Workers", merging with the Amalgamated Union of Machine and General Labourers. Further mergers followed, principally with the British Labour Amalgamation, the Amalgamated Society of Gas, Municipal and General Workers, the Amalgamated Enginemen, Cranemen, Boilermen, Firemen and Wire Rope Workers Union and the National Union of Women Workers. In 1924, it joined with the National Amalgamated Union of Labour and the Municipal Employees Association to form the National Union of General and Municipal Workers.[2]


  1. ^ National Union of Gasworkers, Spartacus Educational
  2. ^ Arthur Ivor Marsh et al, Historical Directory of Trade Unions, p.486