|Founded||17 May 1885|
|Predecessor||National Confederate Association of Power Loom Overlookers|
|Affiliation||GFTU, Labour, NCTTF, TUC, UTFWA|
The General Union of Loom Overlookers (GULO) was a trade union representing junior supervisors in textile manufacturing in the United Kingdom. While most members were based in Lancashire, it also had members in Yorkshire, East Anglia and Essex.
In 1875, a National Confederate Association of Power Loom Overlookers was established as a loose organisation of sixteen local trade unions, most based in Lancashire. As all its affiliates were very small, its total membership was around 1,000. In 1885, it organised a conference with the larger Blackburn and Pendleton unions, which saw themselves as friendly societies and had refused to join the confederation. The conference was successful, and the General Union of Associations of Power-Loom Overlookers was established. It took part in a large number of local strikes in its early years.
|Accrington and District||1878||1885||121||Dissolved 1982|
|Ashton-under-Lyne and District||1872||1885||174||Merged into Hyde and District 1961|
|Bacup and District||1907||1907||83||Merged into Haslingden and District 1964|
|Bamber Bridge||1879||1885||76||Merged into Preston and Districts 1918|
|Blackburn and District||1850||1885||350|
|Bolton and District||1871||1885||339||Merged into United Association 1984|
|Burnley and District||1884||1885||571||Dissolved 1974|
|Bury and District||1892||143|
|Chorley and District||1878||1885||184||Merged into Preston and Districts 1973|
|Church and Oswaldtwistle||1867||1908||77||Merged into Great Harwood 1960|
|Colne and District||1883||285||Merged into EETPU 1991|
|Darwen and District||1858||1,325||Dissolved 1960s|
|Derby||1937||1937||N/A||Merged into United Association 1978|
|Glossop||1875||1885||N/A||Merged into Hadfield 1901|
|Hadfield and District||1886||1893||120||Merged into Hyde 1976|
|Haslingden and District||1890||101||Merged into EETPU 1990|
|Heywood and District||1868||1893||81||Dissolved 1982|
|Hyde and District||1872||1885||108|
|Leigh||1893||1893||56||Merged into Bolton 1973|
|Longridge and District||1888||1888||45||Merged into Preston and Districts 1966|
|National||1865||1885||581||Merged into EETPU 1990|
|Nelson and District||1889||513||Merged into EETPU 1989|
|Oldham||1870||1885||195||Merged into United Association 1990|
|Preston and Districts||1875||1885||665||Merged into Blackburn and District 1988|
|Radcliffe and District||1875||1893||89||Dissolved 1972|
|Skipton and District||1896||1896||102|
|Stalybridge and District||1871||1885||88||Dissolved 1976|
|Wigan||1880s||1885||Merged into EETPU 1990|
The union was keen to support broader trade union ventures. It was a founder member of the Labour Representation Committee, and affiliated to the United Textile Factory Workers' Association, the General Federation of Trade Unions and the Trades Union Congress. It was also a founder member of the Northern Counties Textile Trades Federation.
Early in the 1900s, the association changed its name to become the General Union of Associations of Loom Overlookers. Membership continued to grow until 1933, when it peaked at 8,820. It remained steady at around 5,000 until 1960, at which point 25 unions were affiliated. However, membership then began to fall, in line with the decline in the British cotton industry. In response, in 1971, the union founded the "British Federation of Textile Technicians" with two smaller, independent unions: the Yorkshire Association of Power Loom Overlookers and the Scottish Union of Power Loom Overlookers.
By 1979, the union consisted of fourteen local unions, although their total membership was only 2,410. It suffered a dramatic loss of membership as mills closed during the 1980s and 1990s, with only 265 members remaining at the end of the century. By 1997, it had only two affiliates, the United Association of Power Loom Overlookers and the Amalgamated Power Loom Overlookers, and that year its federal structure was abandoned, members instead joining the central body, now renamed the "General Union of Loom Overlookers". Despite this change, membership continued to drop, falling to only 138 in 2007, when the union was dissolved. Former members of the union transferred to the GMB.
- 1885: John Sidebotham
- 1905: James E. Tattersall
- 1913: James E. Tattersall and Edward Duxbury
- 1921: Edward Duxbury
- 1935: Jeremiah Proctor
- 1949: Fred Titherington
- 1963: Arthur Howcroft
- 1976: Harold Brown
- 1982: R. Richardson
- 1986: Eddie Macro
- 1990: Don Rishton
- Report on Trade Unions in 1905-1907. London: Board of Trade. 1909. p. 121-124.
- Marsh, Arthur; Ryan, Victoria; Smethurst, John B. (1994). Historical Directory of Trade Unions. 4. Farnham: Ashgate. pp. 146–172. ISBN 9780859679008.
- Report on Trade Unions in 1905-1907. London: Board of Trade. 1909. p. 26–29.
- Richard Biernacki, The Fabrication of Labor: Germany and Britain, 1640-1914, p.467
- P. F. Clarke, Lancashire and the New Liberalism, p.93
- Eaton, Jack; Gill, Colin (1981). The Trade Union Directory. London: Pluto Press. p. 183.
- "Alliance of textile unions", The Guardian, 23 February 1971, p.4
- Roger Undy, Trade Union Merger Strategies, p.35
- Gary Daniels and John McIlroy, Trade Unions in a Neoliberal World, p.134
- Jonathan Sale, There is no power in these unions, The Guardian, 8 September 2008
- GMB, "Transfers of Engagements"