Trades Unions & Politics

Most of the items in this category are taken from the Railway Review - the journal of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants. The category also includes some items produced by railway workers in 20th century

Main Themes and Motifs

  • Dangers of railway work
  • The importance of unity among workers
  • Criticism of employers' behaviour

Chronology

1860-69
1870-79 052
1880-89 041; 377; 328
1890-99 576; 577
1900-09 567; 573; 574
1910-19
1920-29
1930-39
1940-49
1950-59
1960-69 353*; 358*
1970-79

Uncertain: 570; 575

* The earliest and latest dates for this item extend across decades. See item more information.


Historical Background

Railway workers were called company servants and they were expected to behave like servants. Many worked alone or in small groups and in shifts which made the organisation of trades unions difficult.
Their grievances were the grievances of the labouring classes as a whole: Long hours; poor pay (often subject to arbitrary fines imposed by the employer); and safety - or the lack of it.