National Union of Railwaymen

National Union of Railwaymen

The National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) was a trade union of rail workers in the UK. It was founded in 1913 by the merger of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, the United Pointmen and Signalmen’s Society, and the General Railway Workers’ Union.

The NUR represented the majority of railway workers, but not white-collar workers, who were members of the Railway Clerks’ Association. NUR membership was open to drivers and firemen but most chose instead to be members of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF).

In 1914 the NUR joined forces with the National Transport Workers’ Federation and Mining Federation of Great Britain to form the Triple Alliance. The Alliance appeared to signal a significant step towards greater unity and syndicalist ideology within British trade unionism, however the onset of the First World War curtailed any imminent strike action. In 1919 the NUR and ASLEF jointly organised a national railway strike, which prevented a proposed wage reduction and won an eight-hour maximum working day.

The NUR had 408,900 members in 1945, making it the fifth largest union in Britain. By 1966 its membership had fallen to 227,800. In 1990 the NUR merged with the National Union of Seamen to form the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and ceased to exist as a separate union.