New Trade Unions

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

New Trade Unions


a name given the trade unions that arose in Great Britain in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s, during an upsurge in the workers’ movement. The “new” trade unions were affiliated, for the most part, with the left wing of the workers’ movement. The first of the major new trade unions were the gas workers’ union and the dockworkers’ union, both founded in 1889. In contrast to the “old” trade unions, which as a rule united workers of a single craft, the new trade unions were constituted on an industry-wide basis. Workers of various crafts in a single branch of industry could thus be members of a single union. The new trade unions opened their ranks to unskilled workers, who until then had remained outside the trade union movement. Later, under the influence of the new trade unions, other unions also accepted unskilled workers as members.

The new trade unions promoted involvement of broad strata of the workers in mass activity and strengthened the trade unions in general during their transformation into nationwide organizations. After the beginning of World War I (1914–18), the new trade unions gradually lost those features that had earlier distinguished them from the other English trade unions.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 37, p. 269.
Morton, A. L., and G. Tate. Istoriia angliiskogo rabochego dvizheniia: 1770–1920. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from English.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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