Ship Constructors and Shipwrights Association

Badge of the Ship Constructors and Shipwrights Association.  

Badge of the Ship Constructors and Shipwrights Association.

As shipbuilding made the switch from wood to iron and sail to steam, the old established shipwrights’ associations found themselves a minority union behind the United Society of Boilermakers and Iron and Steel Shipbuilders.

Their answer was to federate, and in the decade from 1872 onwards an Associated Society of Shipwrights largely succeeded in bringing together most of the local and specialised societies under a single banner.

But despite growing rapidly in private dockyards and establishing a 48-hour week for its members in 1894, the society proved unable to win recognition in the naval dockyards, where a separate Ship Constructive Association was formed.

Between 1900 and 1910 the Associated Society succeeded in consolidating union organisation further by absorbing local organisations in Newport, Gloucester and on the Wear – and taking over smaller national bodies, including the Ship Constructive Association.

The result was a new Ship Constructive and Shipwrights Association, which would later become the Ship Constructors and Shipwrights Association – the name shown on the union badge pictured here.

Under this name the association continued until 1963, when it joined forces with the boilermakers’ unions to form the Amalgamated Society of Boilermakers, Shipbuilders and Structural Workers.

A further merger with the National Union of General and Municipal Workers in 1982 led to the creation of the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trades Union. The union would later contract its name to the three initials GMB.


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