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The attitude of the Trades Union Congress towards unemployment in the inter-war period

Shaw, S (1979) The attitude of the Trades Union Congress towards unemployment in the inter-war period. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86372) (KAR id:86372)

Abstract

'l'he aim of this thesis is to consider how trade unions reacted to large-scale unemployment. It focuses upon the Trades Union Congress and its General Council, rut refers to individual unions and to the wider Labour movement on particular issues. Wages emerge as the major area of trade union concern. Trade union perceptions of a trade-off between wages and unemployment, and the degree to which unions Illa\Y have been willing to bargain one against the other, are investigated. It is concluded that despite the prevailing levels of unemployment ;in the inter-war period the unions were not unsuccessful in achieving real. improvements in living standards for their members. ~e development of T.U.C. thinking on economic issues, with particular regard to the problem of unemployment, is described and analysed. The methods employed in pursuit of these policies are also discussed. Criticism is made of the generally favourable comment allegf.ng the T.U.C. t S relative economic a:>phistication in the face of depression. In regard to tactics and organisation, unemployment appears to have had only a marginal. influence upon the trade unions. In as mu.ch as the majority of trade union members remained in employment, and so long as unemployment did not threaten wage standards, this result was to be expected. Notwithstanding a dramatic loss in membership and income, and in spite of the unfavourable economic climate, the trade unions emerged from the inter-war period with their prestige enhanced. Although they could claim little access in the political sphere, nor in their collaboration with the" employers, the wages front had been held for the most. part since 1922. Unemployment was genuinely regarded by trade unions with abhorrence. However, this view was tempered by the experience that even in the industrial circumstances of the inter-war period, unemployment could not totally break the bargaining over of labour.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86372
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Uncontrolled keywords: History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D203 Modern History, 1453-
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:55 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2022 10:45 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/86372 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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