National Union of Vehicle Builders (Swansea Branch)

Scope and Content

Branch Meeting Minutes 1938-1948

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Union of Vehicle Builders was first formed as the United Kingdom Society of Coachmakers in 1834. Prior to this date there were many small societies and unions for coachmakers throughout Britain. However, a strike in the 1830s by the Liverpool Coachmakers Society and the Manchester Coach Makers Society had shown how successfully the different societies could work together. This led to the creation of a single organisation, the Society of Coachmakers, to represent all the coachmakers in Britain at a conference held in Leeds in 1934. By 1850 the main headquarters of the UK Society of Coachmakers had been moved from Leeds to Liverpool as the latter had the largest branch at that time. The Society was very active in recruitment and held the first of its annual delegate conferences in 1856. In 1872, their membership numbered around 6,800 which led to a decision to affiliate to the Trades Unions Congress the same year. This was followed by affiliation to the Labour Party in 1906.

In 1919, the Society amalgamated with other major coach building organisations to form the National Union of Vehicle Builders (NUVB). These included the London and Provincial Coachmakers Society, the Operative Coachmakers and Wheelwrights Federal Labour Union and the London Coachsmiths and Vicemen's Trade Society. Their first publication, the NUVB Journal, was published the same year. During 1925, the Amalgamated Society of Wheelwrights, Smiths and Motor Body Makers merged with the NUVB. This was followed by membership of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions in 1935 and amalgamation of the Wheelwrights and Coachmakers Operatives Union in 1948. In 1972, the National Union of Vehicle Builders effectively ceased to exist when it merged with the Transport and General Workers Union.

Source: A. Marsh & V. Ryan, The Historical Directory of Trade Unions (Aldershot, c.1984), Vol. 2, pp. 97-8

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