The Marine, Port and General Workers' Union had its origins in 1933 when a group of seamen in the Port of Dublin left the British based National Union of Seamen with the intention of setting up an Irish seamen's union. The new union became known as the Seaman and Port Workers Union. It soon developed a reputation for militancy. Its first general secretary, Sean O'Moore, was a prominent supporter of the Republican Congress. In the mid 1950's Des Brannigan succeeded O'Moore as general secretary.
Around this time the union began recruiting workers in the docklands and factorys around the North Wall area of Dublin. eg. Lever Brothers and the Exide Battery factory. It was also at this time it changed its name to the Marine, Port and General Workers' Union. Hugh Boyle, an active trade unionist would lead the ranks of the CSA Branch and represent Lever Brothers as an MPGWU delegate.
In 1959 some internal dissention resulted in the resignation of Brannigan as general secretary and the seamen broke away to form their own union under William Stacey.
The MPGWU took a rightward turn when James Dunne became general secretary. Dunne died in 1972.
Seamus Redmond would succeed Dunne as general secretary of the Marine Port and General Workers Union and would lead the union for 18 years.
In 1973 He withdrew the union from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) after a dispute over a now defunct clause in the constitution of Congress; Rule 47D. Rule 47D was amended at the ICTU meeting in Belfast in 1982.
In 1984 the 6,000 membership of the MPGWU voted to rejoin the Irish Congress of Trade Unions after an absence of 11 years. This decision was taken after an invitation was sent by the ICTU to re-affiliate.
Seamus Redmond finished writing a history of the union shortly before he died in 1996.
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