Transport and General Workers' Union
|Full name||Transport and General Workers' Union|
|Date dissolved||1 May 2007|
|Affiliation||TUC, ICTU, STUC, ITF, IUF, Labour|
|Key people||Tony Woodley, general secretary|
|Office location||London, England|
|Country||United Kingdom, Ireland|
The Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU or T&G) was one of the largest general trade unions in the United Kingdom and Ireland - where it was known as the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union (ATGWU) to differentiate itself from the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union - with 900,000 members (and was once the largest trade union in the world). It was founded in 1922, and its first general secretary was Ernest Bevin.
- 1 History
- 2 Merger with Amicus
- 3 Affiliations
- 4 Officers
- 5 Amalgamations
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
At the time of its creation in 1922, the TGWU was the largest and most ambitious amalgamation brought about within trade unionism. Its structure combined regional organisation, based on Districts and Areas, with committee organisation by occupation, based on six broad Trade Groups. Trade groups were not closely linked to trades, but were elected by activists. Officials of the union were grouped by region, and could be asked to serve each or any trade group.
The Docks Group was created in 1922 to represent former members of the following unions:
- Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland
- Labour Protection League (London, est. 1871)
- National Amalgamated Coal Porters' Union of Inland and Seaborne Coal Workers (London, est. 1889)
- National Amalgamated Labourers' Union of Great Britain and Ireland (Cardiff, est. 1889)
- North of England Trimmers' and Teemers' Association (est. 1871)
General Workers Group
The General Workers Group was created in 1922 to cater for all workers in jobs which did not fall into another group. Initially, it had subsections for workers in metal and chemical trades. Once it was considered that a particular field had enough members to justify its own trade group, it was split out. This happened with the Metal and Engineering Group in 1930, and the Chemicals Group in 1954. These decisions were made at the Biennial Delegate Conference, and although there were many applications to form new trade groups, most were unsuccessful. By 1929, the group had grown to 100,000 members, and it then doubled in size when the Workers' Union merged into the TGWU. Despite the splitting out of further groups in 1970, by 1980 the General Workers Group had grown further, to 269,845 members.
The Waterways Group was created in 1922 to represent former members of the Amalgamated Society of Watermen, Lightermen and Bargemen. In 1970, it was merged into the Docks Group.
Administrative, Clerical and Supervisory Group
The Administrative, Clerical and Supervisory Group was created in 1922 to represent former members of the following unions:
- National Association of Ships' Clerks, Grain Weighers and Coalmeters
- National Union of Docks, Wharves and Shipping Staffs
There was often ambiguity in the TGWU over the actual name of its white-collar section. From the 1960s it was generally known as ACTS (Administrative, Clerical, Technical and Supervisory) but also sometimes as the ACTSS (Association of Clerical, Technical and Supervisory Staff) and enamel union badges bearing both sets of initials were produced for members. It was noted for an enquiry by the Certification Office in 2006 into board members who had joined the union within six months of being elected to senior posts.
By 1980, the group had 149,801 members.
Passenger Services and Road Transport (Commercial) Groups
The Road Transport group was created in 1922 to represent former members of the following unions:
- Amalgamated Association of Carters and Motormen (Leeds, est. 1916)
- Amalgamated Carters, Lurrymen and Motormen's Union (Bolton, est. 1890)
- Associated Horsemen's Union (Greenock, est. 1894)
- National Union of Vehicle Workers
- North of Scotland Horse and Motormen's Association (Dundee, 1911)
- United Vehicle Workers
Later in 1922, the group was split into Road Transport (Passenger) and Road Transport (Commercial) groups. By 1980, the renamed Passenger Services group had 44,501 members, while the Commercial Services group had 226,290.
The Scottish Union of Dock Labourers and National Union of Dock, Riverside and General Workers in Great Britain and Ireland initially voted not to amalgamate, but joined before the end of 1922 nonetheless. The Greenock Sugar Porters' Union, Dundee Flax and Jute Stowers' Society, National Union of British Fishermen, and Belfast Breadservers' Association had also joined before the end of the year.
The Amalgamated Carters, Lurrymen and Motormen's Union merged with the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1922. Until its members were fully integrated in 1968, the union formed the North of England Commercial Section within the TGWU, retaining a great deal of autonomy and in many ways effectively functioning as a separate union, even being registered separately with the Registrar of Friendly Societies. It had previously had a similar arrangement with the United Vehicle Workers, another union that joined the merger forming the TGWU. Lurry was an old-fashioned spelling of lorry, and the spelling lorrymen is also seen in the union's documents.
Several specialised and other unions voted later to merge with the TGWU, including
- The Workers' Union (est. 1898) in 1929, bringing into the TGWU 100,000 members.
- Dundee Pilots in 1945.
- Cardiff, Penarth and Barry Coal Trimmers' Union in 1967
The latest union to merge was the Community and Youth Workers' Union, whose members approved the merger on 13 September 2006, with the formal merger being approved by the Trades Union Certification Officer on 8 January 2007. For a full list, see the list of TGWU amalgamations.
Merger with Amicus
During 2005 discussions started between the TGWU, Amicus and the GMB about the possibility of merging the three unions into one organisation with potentially 2.5 million members covering almost every sector of the economy. On 14 June 2006 the GMB Conference voted not to continue with discussions although the other two unions are proceeding, with delegates approving the proposed 'Instrument of Amalgamation' at a special conference on 18 December 2006. The ballot of both unions' membership during February and early March 2007, also approved the merger. The result of the ballot was announced on 8 March 2007: 86.4 per cent of T&G members and 70.1 per cent of Amicus members voted to support the merger, from a turnout of 27%. The press release announced that the resulting union had the working title "New Union" and the name would be decided by a ballot of the membership. However, on 2 April 2007, The Times reported that the name Unite had been chosen. and that full merger of rule books and governing bodies may soon follow the existing merger of personnel and finance departments 
- Labour Party (UK)
- Labour Party (Republic of Ireland)
- Trades Union Congress (TUC)
- Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
- Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)
- International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF)
- International Metalworkers' Federation (IMF)
- Union Network International (UNI)
- International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association (IUF)
- Public Services International (PSI)
- International Federation of Building and Woodworkers (IFBW)
- International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITLGW)
- International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM)
Regions - particularly Region One which covered London, the South East and Eastern England, also had a tradition of donating to other causes, as did branch committees, which controlled a substantial proportion of membership income.
- 1922: Ernest Bevin
- 1945: Arthur Deakin (acting from 1940)
- 1955: Jock Tiffin
- 1956: Frank Cousins
- 1964: Harry Nicholas (acting)
- 1969: Jack Jones
- 1978: Moss Evans
- 1985: Ron Todd
- 1992: Bill Morris
- 2003: Tony Woodley
Deputy General Secretaries
- 1974: Harry Urwin
- 1980: Alec Kitson
- 1986: Bill Morris
- 1992: Jack Adams
- 1999: Margaret Prosser
- 2002: Tony Woodley
- 2003: Jack Dromey
Assistant General Secretaries
- 1924: John Cliff
- 1935: Arthur Deakin
- 1945: Harold Clay
- 1948: Jock Tiffin
- 1955: Frank Cousins
- 1956: Harry Nicholas
- 1968: Harry Urwin
- 1974: Vacant
- 1985: Eddie Haigh and Larry Smith
- 1988: Eddie Haigh
- 1991: Vacant?
- 1999: Barry Camfield and Jimmy Elsby
The list of TGWU amalgamations highlights the scale of the TGWU policy of mergers, amalgamations and transfers of engagements, which contributed to its membership growth and the spread of its membership base.
- The history of the T&G
- Catalogue of the TGWU archives, held at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick
- Catalogue of the TGWU West Midlands Region archives, held at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick
- Catalogue of the TGWU Coventry District archives, held at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick
- T&GWU website archived on 30 April 2007