A History of British Trade Unionism C. 1770-1990

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A. Sutton, 1992 - History - 238 pages
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From small and largely ineffectual beginnings the British trade union movement gradually emerged into a force to be reckoned with--a powerful organization that, at its peak, could make or break the operation of British politics and industrial relations. A History of British Trade Unionism sets out to describe, discuss and, furthermore, evaluate the major developments in the evolution of the trade union movement and provides an essential and up-to-date summary of the chief debates that have long divided historians. It focuses upon both the institutional nature of trade union growth and the more rank-and-file shopfloor experience which has been the subject of discussion in recent years. In this fascinating book Keith Laybourn examines the problems of trade union growth in the early nineteenth century, the emergence of the so-called 'new model' and 'new unionism' of the late nineteenth century, the link with the Labour Party, the shop stewards' movement since the First World War, inter-war developments including the General Strike in 1926, the success of British trade unionism between the Second World War and the late 1960s and, finally, the more recent decline of British trade unionism particularly in the face of restrictions imposed by the Thatcher governments. A History of British Trade Unionism gives a full and discerning account of the trade union movement from 1770 to the present day and clears an invaluable 'pathway through the forest of detailed research...to enable the general, rather than specialist, reader to appreciate the major debates which have convulsed the study of British trade union history...'.

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About the author (1992)

Keith Laybourn is Professor of History at the University of Huddersfield.

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