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British Industrial History

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Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants

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The Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS) was a trade union of railway workers in the United Kingdom from 1872 until 1913.

The ASRS was an industrial union founded in 1871 with the support of the Liberal MP Michael Bass. Its early years were difficult. In 1872 the ASRS reported having 17,247 members but by 1882 this had declined to only 6,321.[1]

1880 Declining membership of the ASRS helped to spur the formation of a new craft union specifically for locomotive engineers and firemen - ASLEF. "..every one is agreed that [ASLEF] had justification for its formation because of the weakness and hesitancy of the old A.S.R.S. in 1880. Its membership was falling rapidly. It had been involved in a disastrous strike in 1878.."[2]

1906 The society formulated a national programme which was sent by Mr R. Bell, the secretary to the various railway companies which either ignored or simply acknowledged it, on the ground that they would deal direct with the men themselves. In the autumn of 1907 matters had reached such a state that ballot was taken as to a strike. The outlook was so uncertain that Mr. Lloyd George who was at The Board of Trade called a meeting of representatives of the companies and a separate meeting of the men, with the result that both parties signed separate agreements on November 6th 1907 ti accept a system of conciliation and arbitration. The "Conciliation Scheme of 1907" was the result. [3]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia
  2. The Railways 1825-1925, auth. J.T. Walton Newbold M.A., pub. The Labour Publishing Company Limited, 1925
  3. The Engineer 1924/12/19