Girish Mahajan (Editor)

South Wales Miners' Federation

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Founded  24 October 1898
Country  United Kingdom
Date dissolved  1945
Full name  South Wales Miners' Federation
Merged into  National Union of Mineworkers

The South Wales Miners' Federation (SWMF), nicknamed "The Fed", was a trade union for miners in South Wales.



The union was founded on 24 October 1898, following the defeat of the South Wales miners' strike of 1898. Numerous local coal miners' union found their funds depleted and decided to merge together. They include:

Despite its name, the new union was not a federation; the former unions were dissolved and became the basis of twenty districts, each with one or more full-time agents. By 1914, four districts had more than 10,000 members: Anthracite, Monmouthshire & Western Valleys, Rhondda No.1, and Tredegar Valley.

The new union affiliated to the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) in 1899.

In the early twentieth century, its leadership were aligned with the Liberal Party; MPs Thomas Richards, William Abraham, John Williams and William Brace all took the Liberal Party whip in parliament. In 1909 the Fed was among a large minority of miners associations that opposed the MFGB affiliation to the Labour Party. Some in the union were radicalised by such events as the Cambrian Combine Dispute and the Tonypandy Riot of 1910.

Over the years, there were a few splits from the union. The Monmouthshire and South Wales Colliery Enginemen, Stokers and Surface Craftsmen's General Association left in 1903. The South Wales Miners' Industrial Union, a moderate breakaway union was set up in 1926 in opposition to the General Strike but was disbanded in 1938. In 1940, the SWMF also started representing miners in the Forest of Dean.

In 1945, the MFGB became the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), and the Fed became the NUM (South Wales Area), with less autonomy than before.

In 1960, the South Wales Area was expanded to include the Somerset coalfield.

Presidents of the SWMF

  • 1898: William Abraham
  • 1912: William Brace
  • 1915: James Winstone
  • 1922: Vernon Hartshorn
  • 1924: Enoch Morrell
  • 1934: James Griffiths
  • 1936: Arthur Horner
  • 1946: Alf Davies
  • 1951: Will Paynter
  • 1959: William Whitehead
  • 1966: Glyn Williams
  • 1973: Emlyn Williams
  • 1986: Des Dutfield
  • Secretaries of the SWMF

  • 1898: Thomas Richards
  • 1931: Oliver Harris
  • 1941: Evan Williams
  • 1943: W. J. Saddler
  • 1946: Evan Williams
  • 1947: William Arthur
  • 1951: W. H. Crews
  • 1958: D. D. Evans
  • 1963: David Francis
  • 1976: George Rees
  • References

    South Wales Miners' Federation Wikipedia

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