Person NamePost Office Engineering Union; 1896-1985
ActivityThe Engineering Department of the Post Office was established in 1870, when the Post Office, the government department dealing with communications, bought over all the telegraph offices previously run by various railway companies. There were only about four hundred employees altogether, and the engineers consisted of the labourers who raised telegraph poles, the more skilled wiremen who attached the telegraph wires to the poles, and the even more skilled linesmen who maintained and repaired them. In the first few years of their adoption into the Civil Service, the telegraph workers entered into sporadic union activity: the telegraph clerks themselves were in an ideal position to take concerted action as they could communicate with each other across the country, but the engineers had suffered more from the move to the Civil Service as the Treasury did not understand their skills. Senior engineers, also brought in from the private telegraph companies, did a great deal in early years to defend their staff and to highlight their skills and commitments, as well as the demands and dangers of their jobs. A union was finally formed in 1896. Throughout most of the twentieth century it remained a separate union, one of many representing Post Office workers but the only one to represent the skilled engineers. The Post Office Engineering Union (POEU) finally merged with the CPSA in 1985 to form the National Communications Union (NCU). In 1995, the National Communications Union merged with the Union of Communication Workers to form the Communications Workers Union.
Corporate NamePost Office Engineering Union
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