The mining unions were established to improve conditions for the miners. They fought for, among many things, better working conditions, compensation for injury or death at work and better pay.
Trade union membership grew rapidly during the 19th century. Unions became more organised, leading to the formation of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) in 1889. On 1 January 1945 this became the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).