What was New Unionism? | Tom Mann and Ben Tillett on New Unionism, 1890
Ben Tillett and the 1912 National Dock Strike. 91076
Ben Tillett - West Beach Session
Ben Tillett old footage
Benjamin Tillett was a British socialist, trade union leader and politician. He was a leader of the "new unionism" of 1889 that focused on organizing unskilled workers. He played a major role in founding the Dockers Union, and played a prominent role as a strike leader in dock strikes in 1911 and 1912. He enthusiastically supported the war effort in the First World War. He was pushed aside by Ernest Bevin during the consolidation that created the Transport and General Workers' Union in 1922, who gave Tillett a subordinate position. Scholars stress his evangelical dedication to the labour cause, while noting his administrative weaknesses. Clegg Fox and Thompson described him as a demagogue and agitator grasping for fleeting popularity.