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Tuesday, 1 January, 2002, 15:06 GMT
UK "super-union" launched
Manufacturing plant
The AEEU/MSF merger will create the biggest manufacturing union
The UK's Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union has merged with the Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union, forming a new manufacturing "super-union".

The new organisation, to be known as Amicus, is the UK's second biggest trade union after public sector workers' union Unison.

Workers will be hoping that Amicus, with membership of around 1.2m, will be powerful enough to stem a wave of lay-offs in the manufacturing sector.

Around 150,000 UK manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last year.

Looking for members

The merger between AEEU and MSF was agreed in April last year, but did not take effect until 1 January.

The new union has assets worth more than 100m, and annual income of around 60m.

It has set aside around 1m to fund a nationwide recruitment drive.

"We aim to organise working people in every sector of the economy," said Amicus joint leader Roger Lyons.

Political clout

Amicus is the largest union for private sector and manufacturing workers, and is also the largest union to be affiliated to the UK's ruling Labour party.

One hundred members of the UK parliament belong to Amicus.

The tie-up between the AEEU and MSF, the biggest UK trade union merger to date, reflects a recent pattern of consolidation in the organised labour movement.

Two years ago, the AEEU floated the idea of a pan-European merger between itself and Germany's giant manufacturing union IG Metall.

See also:

03 Apr 01 | Business
Will bigger unions be better?
02 Apr 01 | Business
Workers vote for super union
19 Mar 01 | Business
Germany forms 'mammoth' trade union
15 Jan 01 | Business
Union recognition on the up
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