More commonly known simply as the Dockers Union, the Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers Union was originally formed in 1887 as the Tea Operatives and General Labourers Union.
The union recruited 2,300 members by the end of 1888, and in 1889 became involved in the Great Dock Strike which brought the Port of London to a halt. The dispute won widespread public support for the dockers, and achieved its aim of establishing a rate of 6d an hour.
In the wake of the strike, the union changed its name and membership grew rapidly to 30,932 by the end of 1889, and to 57,000 by the end of 1890. However, a dispute between dockworkers north and south of the Thames also led to the creation of a separate South Side Labour Protection League.
With the dockers split, and many remaining outside any union, by 1904, the Dockers Union had almost disappeared in London. It remained strong elsewhere in the countryhowever, and in 1922, the Dockers Union was one of 14 organisations which merged to form the Transport and General Workers Union.