National Union of Textile and Allied Workers

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Full name National Union of Textile and Allied Workers
Founded 1886
Date dissolved 1974
Merged into Amalgamated Textile Workers' Union
Members 52,000 (1910)
Country United Kingdom

The National Union of Textile and Allied Workers (NUTAW), also known as the Cardroom Workers' Amalgamation (CWA),[1] was a British trade union which existed between 1886 and 1974. It represented workers in the cotton textile industry.


The union was founded in 1886 as the Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing Room Operatives, by the amalgamation of a few small, local unions. This followed the Oldham weavers' strike of 1885, which had led to non-unionised cardroom workers being locked out and losing their wages.[2]

The union represented a wide range of workers in the textile industry, and did not discriminate on the basis of occupation or skill. The core of the union's membership were the strippers and grinders, skilled adult male mechanics, who maintained the carding engines. Almost all strippers and grinders were union members.[3] The CWA also organised less skilled female ring spinners and other mill operatives. From 1904 onwards the only members required to have completed an apprenticeship were the strippers-and-grinders.[2]

The CWA grew rapidly and by 1910 it had 52,000 members.[3] In 1924, it changed its name to the Amalgamated Association of Card and Blowing and Ring Room Operatives, and in 1952 it became the National Association of Card, Blowing and Ring Room Operatives, before adopting its final name in 1968.[4]

The CWA was more aggressive in its attitude towards negotiating with employers than the other major cotton unions and by the mid-1960s the wages of strippers and grinders equalled those of mule spinners, traditionally the highest-paid textile workers.[3]

In 1974, the union merged with the Amalgamated Weavers' Association, to form the Amalgamated Textile Workers' Union.[4]

General secretaries

1886: William Mullin
1920: William Thomasson
1935: Alfred Roberts
1962: Joe King


1896: James Crinion
1926: Joseph Frayne
1936: Archibald C. C. Robertson
1953: Harold Chorlton


  1. Joseph L. White, The Limits of Trade Union Militancy, p.240, note 9
  2. 2.0 2.1 Penn, Roger (1984). Skilled Workers in the Class Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 65–67. ISBN 978 0 521 25455 7. Retrieved 10 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 White, Joseph L. (1978). The Limits of Trade Union Militancy: The Lancashire Textile Workers, 1910-1914. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 76. ISBN 0-313-20029-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "White" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 Arthur Marsh, Victoria Ryan and John B. Smethurst, Historical directory of trade unionism, Vol. 4