Unity (trade union)

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CATU logo.png
Full name Unity (previously the Ceramic and Allied Trades Union)
Founded 1827
Members 3,906 (2013)[1]
Affiliation TUC, Labour Party[2]
Key people Harry Hockaday, general secretary
Office location Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Country United Kingdom
Website www.unitytheunion.org.uk

Unity, formerly the Ceramic and Allied Trades Union (CATU), is a British trade union, created in the early 19th century to protect pottery workers from dangerous conditions of their field. In 2006 it changed its name to Unity.

The union was founded in 1827 as the National Union of Operative Potters, affiliated to the National Association for the Protection of Labour. Based in the Potteries, it was the first union to actively recruit members from outside the area, and focused its efforts on building its strength, and opposing the worst truck shops.[3] While the union collapsed in 1837, a loose federation named the United Branches of Operative Potters, which had been founded by some of its members three years before, ensured trade unionism survived in the industry.[4]

The United Branches thrived, and in 1845 it was a major shareholder in the National Association of United Trades for the Employment of Labour. Secretary William Evans formed the controversial Potters Emigration Society, taking up fears around mechanisation to encourage potters to move to Pottersville, Wisconsin, although the scheme foundered by 1848.[5]

The union later became the National Society of Male and Female Pottery Operatives, and in 1919 the National Society of Pottery Workers. In 1970, it became the Ceramic and Allied Trades Union.[6]

General Secretaries[edit]

  • 1918: Samuel Clowes
  • 1928: Arthur Hollins
  • 1947: Harold Hewitt
  • 1964: Alf Dulson
  • 1975: Les Sillitoe
  • 1980: Alf Clowes
  • 1996: Geoff Bagnall
  • 2012: Harry Hockaday


  1. ^ Unity: annual returns. UK Certification Officer.
  2. ^ http://www.unionstogether.org.uk/pages/member_unions
  3. ^ John Thomas, The Rise of the Staffordshire Potteries, p.191
  4. ^ John Thomas, The Rise of the Staffordshire Potteries, p.197
  5. ^ Martin Crawford, "Back to the Future? The Potters' Emigration Society and the Historians", Labour History Review, vo.76 no.2, p.81
  6. ^ Wolodymyr Maksymiw et al, The British Trade Union Directory (1990), p.92

External links[edit]