United Order of General Labourers
The union was founded in 1878 in London, initially as a very small organisation - by 1887, it had only 64 members. However, it then grew rapidly, reaching 1,386 members in 1896, and 3,660 in 1900. Initially known as the United Order of General Labourers of London, at the end of World War I, it became the United Order of General Labourers of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1902, the union took part in a merger conference with the Navvies, Bricklayers' Labourers and General Labourers Union, the Hull and District Builders' Labourers Union, the National Amalgamated Union of Labour, the London Amalgamated Plumbers' Mates Society, the United Builders' Labourers Union and the National Union of Gas Workers and General Labourers. The meetings lasted several months, but no agreement was reached, and a legacy of distrust between the unions resulted.
In 1920, the union participated in a merger conference organised by the National Federation of Building Trades Operatives, also attended by three of its major rivals: the National Association of Builders' Labourers, the United Builders' Labourers Union, and the Navvies, Bricklayers' Labourers and General Labourers Union. This was not successful, as the United Order had little interest in merging with these unions. Instead, in 1924, it merged into the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1924.
The union's general secretary from 1913 until 1924 was John Davenport.
- Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of British Trade Unions, vol.3, p.129
- Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of British Trade Unions, vol.3, p.123
- Arthur Ivor Marsh, Victoria Ryan. Historical Directory of Trade Unions, Volume 5 Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., Jan 1, 2006 pg. 434
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