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Trade Unionism 1836-51

Trade Unionism remained largely dormant in this period: working men turned to Chartism during the "Hungry '40s". However, TU revival became perceptible in the mid-1840s: potters, cotton-spinners, tailors, shoemakers and typographical workers all formed themselves into unions.


Miners' Association of Great Britain and Ireland was formed. They struck in 1844 but failed. The union had collapsed by 1848.


National Association of United Trades for the Protection of Labour was formed. Owen and Doherty were involved.
National United Trades Association for the Employment of Labour was set up. It was pure Owenite socialism.

These separate unions differed from earlier ones:

  1. they used the existing law to the fullest extent to benefit the unions
  2. they turned to education: knowledge was power
  3. they displayed a disinclination from strikes
  4. they had a more effective organisation.

The 'Labour Aristocracy' were the backbone of the new TUs - skilled craftsmen on the railways

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Last modified 4 March, 2016

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