UNITE History Volume 1 (1880-1931)

BookUNITE History Volume 1 (1880-1931)

UNITE History Volume 1 (1880-1931)

The Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU): Representing a mass trade union movement


June 15th, 2021

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This is volume 1 of six accessible volumes covering UNITE’s history from 1880-2010. The history of the TGWU is the core of this collection, with a significant emphasis on the union’s regions, as well as several key themes, such as equality, internationalism, the wider labour movement, and its attitude to the conflict between capital and labour.
This first volume (1880-1931) covers the formation of the TGWU. It was rooted in an era in which, starting in the 1880’s, a mass trade union movement was formed. The drive to amalgamate the unions was spearheaded by Ernest Bevin and resulted in the creation of the TGWU, 1920-22 - a period which witnessed an intensification of pre and post WW1 militancy. Such militancy continued, albeit unevenly until 1926 and was met with resistance from employers and the State culminating in the mighty confrontation of the General Strike. Politically the union had a close relationship with the Labour Party and its two minority Governments (1923-4 and 1929-31). The defeat of 1926 marked a watershed in British labour history in which, again, the TGWU played a key role. Trade union militancy was succeeded by an attempt at negotiated accommodation with the employers, known as ‘Mondism’. Bevin was central to this development.

Author Information

Mary Davis is a Visiting Professor of Labour History, Royal Holloway, University of London and Secretary for the Marx Memorial Library. John Foster is Emeritus Professor, Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures6
List of Boxes7
Foreword: Unite History Project: The Six Volume History11
Section I: Origins and Formation 1880–1924 13
1. Setting the Scene 1880–192015
2. Creating the TGWU 1920–2229
3. The TGWU and the Labour Movement 1922–2445
Section II: From Challenge to Collaboration 1925–2863
4. Preparations for the General Strike 1925–2667
5. The General Strike 192677
6. Co-operation and Incorporation 1926–2799
7. ‘Mondism’: Talking to Big Business 1927–28119
Section III: Rescuing Labour 1929–31 131
8. Running the Union in Difficult Times: Too Close to Employers?137
9. The TGWU, Bevin and the Economic Crisis151
10. Labour Rescued159