Papers of the Union of Communication Workers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Minutes, 1919-70; National Whitley Council (various committees) minutes and reports, 1919-59; conference proceedings, 1933-75 (incomplete); some subject files and circulars; leaflets, pamphlets; issues of various journals, 1883-1966; publications re privatisation, 1990s; photograph of 1920 conference; videos relating to particular issues in the 1980s ( including the Miners'strike, and annual conferences 1984 and 1987).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Union of Post Office Workers was formed in 1919 as the result of the amalgamation of the Postal and Telegraph Clerks' Association, the Fawcett Association and the Postmen's Federation as well as the following smaller unions : the Adult Messengers' Association; the Bagmen's Association; the Central London Postmen's Association; the London Postal Porters' Association; the Tracers' Association; and the Tube Staff Association. In 1928 a breakaway group from the Union of Post Office Workers formed the National Guild of Telephonists. The UPW changed its name to the Union of Communication Workers in 1980. In 1995 the union merged with the National Communications Union to form the Communication Workers' Union.

Reference: Alan Clinton, Post Office Workers : a trade union and social history. (London, 1984.).


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The prior permission of the Union is required for access to minutes and unpublished material.

Acquisition Information

The initial deposit was made in February 1977 and consisted of EC minutes, GPC minutes, pamphlets, journals, etc.

Further deposits were made as follows:

2 boxes of pamphlets, June 1979; 3 tea chests, September 1979; 12 archive boxes of conference and EC minutes, November 1981; 1 packet received by post, August 1983; verbatim proceedings of conferences 1976-9, June 1986; 14 cartons, November 1988; 3 cartons, February 1989; The Post and Branch Officers'Bulletin February 1994; UPW GP minutes, 1958-65; Whitley Council minutes and reports, 1919-59, September 1995; 2 volumes of postal strike reports via PRO, March 1996; 1 box of 1990s publications re privatisation, March 1997; 85 boxes, April 1997; photograph of 1920 conference, November 1998; videos relating to particular issues in the 1980s, including the Miners'strike, and annual conferences 1984 and 1987, December 2001.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this collection-level is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom.

An authority record exists for the Union of Communication Workers (GB 152 AAR1070), its predecessor the Union of Post Office Workers (GB 152 AAR1073) and its successor the Communication Workers' Union (GB 152 AAR1058).

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

Constituents of the National Communications Union and related organisations which have some records located at the Centre include : the United Kingdom Postal Clerks' Association (MSS.148/PC), the Postal Telegraph Clerks' Association (MSS.148/PT), the Fawcett Association (MSS.148/FA), the Postmen's Federation (MSS.148/PF), the National Federation of Postal and Telegraph Clerks (MSS.148/NF), the National Communications Union (MSS.135C), the Society of Post Office Executives (MSS.124), the Council of Post Office Unions (MSS.89); and the Communication Managers' Association (MSS.225/CM).