The collection comprises minutes (9 Apr 1957 - 3 Apr 1980); financial records (27 Oct 1967 - 14 Apr 1980); correspondence (Mar 1950 - June 1977); reports (1961 -1979); records in relation to agreements and collective bargaining (9 Aug 1949 - 1979); publications, press cuttings and poster (July 1966 - 9 Aug 1978); records in relation to the European Meeting of Singer Trade Union Delegates, Monza, Italy, 15-17 Apr 1976 (Jan -Mar 1976); records in relation to employment/trade union membership analysis and factory maintenance (1960s - 1970s); memorandum books (3 Feb 1970 - 17 Mar 1975).
Records of Singer Manufacturing Company Ltd. Trade Unions
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 593 GDC1
- Dates of Creation9th Aug 1949 - 14th Apr 1980
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description2.08 linear metres (26 archival boxes)
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Singer Manufacturing Company Ltd., one of the world's leading producers of sewing machines, was established in 1851, as the successor to I.M. Singer and Company. In 1881, Singer purchased just over 46 acres of farmland at Kilbowie, Clydebank and constructed a factory which at it's peak employed 14,000 workers. The factory closed in June 1980.
Singer recognised the right of the employees to appoint trade union representatives, to be known as Shop Stewards. Eligibility depended on age and length of service. In addition a Shop Steward had to be competent to act as the representative of those employees employed in the Shop Steward's constituency (work area). On appointment, the names and agreed constituencies of the Shop Stewards were intimated officially and in writing to the company by the union concerned. It should be noted that Shop Steward representation, from the point of view of the company and trade unions, had to take into consideration the occupational, organisational and geographical composition of the factory.
The Factory Committee was recognised as the body representing the unions of Singer Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The committee was entitled to meet during working hours for specific periods of time. This meeting consisted of the Convener and nominated Shop Stewards who discussed issues in relation to terms and conditions of employment for employees of Singer Manufacturing Co. Ltd and other Singer factories in Europe. At the request of the Convener the company provided facilities for meetings on works premises outside working hours. There were also occasions when factory management addressed the Factory Committee, and in return the committee provided management with a copy of its Standing Orders and kept them informed of membership and activities. The Convener of the Factory Committee was the official spokesman of the unions of Singer Manufacturing Co. Ltd and attended as part of his duties divisional or departmental meetings, in addition to managing negotiations between the Shop Stewards, Factory Committee and company management.
Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU)
The Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) was founded in 1851 as the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (ASE) by the joining together of a number of separate organisations for mechanics, smiths, millwrights, engineers and mechanists, including the Journeymen Steam Engine, Machine Makers and Millrights Friendly Society. Several other, mainly local organisations joined between 1893 and 1915, including the Amalgamated Society of Metal Planers, Shapers, Slotters, Horizontal Borers and Milling Machine Workers in 1894.
In 1920 nine other unions (the Steam Engine Makers' Society, the United Machine Workers' Association, the United Kingdom Society of Amalgamated Smiths and Strikers, the Amalgamated Association of Brass Founders, Turners, Fitters, Finishers and Coppersmiths, the North of England Brass Turners, Fitters and Finishers Society, the London United Metal Turners, Fitters and Finishers Society, the East of Scotland Brassfounders Society, the Amalgamated Instrument Makers Society and the Amalgamated Society of General Toolmakers, Engineers and Mechanists) joined the ASE, to form the AEU.
In 1944 the Amalgamated Society of Glass Works Engineers amalgamated with the AEU; in 1945 the Amalgamated Society of Vehicle Builders, Carpenters and Mechanics; in 1956 the Amalgamated Machine, Engine and Iron Grinders and Glaziers Society; in 1958 the Leeds Spindle and Flyer Makers Trade and Friendly Society; in 1962 the United Operative Spindle and Flyer Makers Trade and Friendly Society; in 1965 the Turners, Fitters and Instrument Makers Union (Scotland).
When the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers joined in 1967, the union changed its name to the Amalgamated Union of Engineering and Foundry Workers (AEF). In April 1970 the AEF amalgamated with the Draughtsmen's and Allied Technician Association and the Constructional Engineering Union to form the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers (AUEW). The AUEW was organised into several sections: the Technical and Supervisory Section; the Constructional Section; the Foundry Section; and the Engineering Section. The AUEW was unsuccessful, and in 1985 the Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Section (as it had been renamed) left the amalgamation. The Construction and Foundry Sections transferred their responsibilities to the Engineering Section and the Union was renamed the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers – Engineering, Foundry and Construction Section. It changed its name back to the AEU in May 1986.
On 1st May 1992, the AEU amalgamated with the Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunication and Plumbing Union (EETPU) to form the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU). On 1st January 2001, the AEEU merged with the Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union (MSF) to form Amicus.
Documents relating to agreements and collective bargaining (sub-series GDC1/5 of this collection).
Amicus, History of the AEEU, online, www.amicustheunion.org
Jeffreys, J.B. "The Story of the Engineers". London, 1945, repr. 1970.
Modern Records Centre, University of Warick. Summary Description of the Papers of the Amalgamated Engineering Union / Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union and its Predecessors, online, www.warick.ac.uk/services/library.
The records have been arranged into nine series, reflecting either the form of the record (e.g. Minutes) or the activities to which they relate (e.g. European Meeting of Singer Trade Union Delegates, Monza, Italy, 15-17 Apr 1976). Series GDC1/1, GDC1/3, GDC1/4, GDC1/5, GDC1/6 and GDC1/7 are divided into sub-series. Within series and sub-series, the items are generally arranged chronologically.
This collection is open to use. To view the collection, please contact the archivist to arrange a visit.
Deposited by Shop Stewards of Singer Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Clydebank in 1980.
Other Finding Aids
The full catalogue is available on our website. To view the catalogue, please click here: Records of Singer Manufacturing Company Ltd. Trade Unions
Records held by Shop Stewards of Singer Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Clydebank prior to transfer.
No further accessions are expected.