Papers of the Engineering Employers' Federation

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Main series of minutes, 1895-1950; minutes of committees, 1897-1949; minutes of negotiating conferences held with trade unions and union federations, 1897-1974; proceedings of public enquiries and analogous bodies, 1917-1927; financial and membership records, 1898-1959; subject and correspondence files, 1831-1969; Federation publications, 1898-1997 (including some Federation directories for between 1926 and 1995, and the EEF Review, its annual report, 1950-1994); other publications, 1913-1937; the memoirs of an EEF employee, 1961; EEF Constitution, 1992; national agreements, 1894-1993; local agreements, 1896-1936; press-cuttings, 1954-1971; statistical data (principally relating to wages), 1862-1965; case registers, 1941-59; wage movements figures, 1897-1925; wages index registers, 1947-1960; signed agreements, 1931-1978; wages agreements; circular letters, 1987-99; conference committee minutes, 1949-1974; and national conference proceedings, 1975-81 (incomplete).

The collection also includes records of: the Federated Admiralty Contractors, 1911-1965; the Bridgebuilding and Constructional Engineering Employers' Association, 1921-1927; the Gas Meter Making Employers' Federation, 1908-1921; and the Grimsby Engineering Employers' Association, 1919-1925.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Employers' Federation of Engineering Associations was established on 24 April 1896. It was effectively a successor to the Iron Trades Employers' Association which had been founded earlier in 1872 but which was dissolved in 1900. By 1899 the Employers' Federation of Engineering Associations had become known as the Engineering Employers' Federation. It kept this title until 1918, when the Federation merged with the National Employers' Federation. Following the merger, the Federation was temporarily called the Engineering and National Employers' Federation, before settling on the Engineering and Allied Employers' National Federation. It retained this title until 1961, when it reverted to the Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF), under which name it continues to operate.

An attempt to form a national federation for engineering employers was initially made in 1889, but the resulting body (the Federation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Employers) was one in which shipbuilding interests were to predominate. The Clyde-Belfast dispute and Clyde lock-out of late 1895 provided further impetus to engineering employers to combine and was the immediate occasion for the moves which led to the Federation's establishment in April 1896. The Federation organised nationwide lock-outs in 1897-8 and 1922. The procedural agreements from these disputes subsequently provided for local and national joint conferences on disputed matters, and the papers surrounding these conferences form an important element of the archive.

The EEF is the largest sector employers' organisation in the United Kingdom. It currently has a membership of nearly 6000 companies and constitutes a nationwide federation, comprised of thirteen regional associations and the Engineering Construction Industry Association.

Reference: E. Wigham, The Power to Manage ((London, 1973).).


The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

The archive can be consulted only with the prior written permission of the depositor. Please contact the Centre for further details. A 20 year closure rule applies to all material deposited since 1996.

Acquisition Information

The initial deposits were made in April and November 1982, with subsequent deposits in March 1985 (2 deposits), April 1994, January and November 1996, June 1998, May 2000 and December 2001.

Other Finding Aids

EEF papers deposited prior to December 1996 have been listed to file level, including the records of four predecessor organisations whose records were later entrusted to the custody of the EEF; the Federated Admiralty Contractors (MSS.237/6/A), the Bridgebuilding and Constructional Engineering Employers' Association (MSS.237/6/B) the Gas Meter Making Employers' Federation (MSS.237/6/GM), and the Grimsby Engineering Employers' Association (MSS.237/6/G). EEF papers deposited since December 1996 are unlisted apart from box lists of the May 2000 and December 2001 deposits. Copies of the catalogues are available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom, at the National Register of Archives in London and in Chadwyck-Healey's National Inventory of Documentary Sources

Authority records exist for the Engineering Employers' Federation

(GB 152 AAR1522), the Bridgebuilding and Constructional Engineering Employers' Association (GB 152 AAR1519), the Gas Meter Making Employers' Federation (GB 152 AAR1573), the Federated Admiralty Contractors(GB 152 AAR1571) and the Grimsby Engineering Employers' Association (GB 152 AAR1570).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.


Further deposits are expected.

Related Material

The Centre also holds the papers of the West Midlands Engineering Employers' Association (MSS.265); the Engineering Employers' East Midlands Association (MSS.288); and many of their predecessors.

Some duplicated statistical material have been transferred to Glasgow University Archives Service (GB 243 UGC 26).