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Usdaw's History

Usdaw125YearLogo_150w.jpgOver one hundred and twenty five years ago, representatives of workers met in Manchester and Birmingham to establish the Trade Unions for retail workers. These Unions grew during the latter part of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century, to form, in 1947, what is now the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.

We can take pride in the knowledge that our Union is undoubtedly a credit to the pioneers who have sacrificed so much in the past to contribute to our development.

Over one hundred and twenty five years of active Usdaw history obviously cannot be fully recorded here. However, we have attempted to highlight some of the historical events, which will convey the struggles and achievements of those who have contributed to this Union's history.

For more detail on the history of our struggle for your rights view our video and 125th anniversary booklet:

Usdaw 125 years strong eBook:

(Also available in PDF format).

You can also view posters from our 125th celebration

Other publications:

Download: Usdaw - A Century of Service (also available in PDF format).

Download A Union of Many Trades - The History of Usdaw (PDF format):

Download: Part 1 - Organising the unorganisable - the first twenty-four years
Download: Part 2 - The War of 1914-18 - and the road that led to Nudaw
Download: Part 3 - A time of danger and a time of growth
Download: Part 4 - Into uniform again
Download: Part 5 - Problems of the peace
Download: Part 6 - Progress and controversy
Download: Part 7 - Trades Unionism under attack

You can also download They also serve - The story of the shop worker (PDF format):

Download:  Part 1 - In the beginning
Download:  Part 2 - "Living-in"
Download:  Part 3 - Wages, 1911-1914
Download:  Part 4 - Retreat and return

Usdaw: 125 Years Strong

We celebrated our 125th anniversary in 2016. The union’s pop-up exhibition reviewed Usdaw’s social history and showcased campaigns then and now in the areas of safer workplaces, better conditions, improved pay and fairness at work. The exhibition was free, open to all and offered a fascinating insight into the rights of shopworkers through the years.

Free prize draw

Enter our free prize draw to win a £100 Love2Shop Gift Voucher courtesy of Usdaw Protect.

The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers