50 years ago, the conflict between the Harold Wilson Labour Government and the trade unions over the Barbara Castle White Paper ‘In Place of Strife’ was one of the pivotal moments of post-war British Industrial Relations. It pitched voluntarist ideas of ‘free collective bargaining’ against ideas of economic planning and public policy concerns about strikes, inflation and restrictive practices. The white paper followed the 1968 Donovan Report & preceded Heath’s Conservative 1971 Industrial Relations Act. In response to Peter Dorey’s new book Comrades in Conflict: Labour, the Trade Unions and 1969's In Place of Strife, this seminar has two parts. In the morning there is a historical reassessment of the political episode. In the afternoon, we consider the implications for current Labour Party policy on trade unions, as the Manifesto promises to ‘roll out sectoral bargaining’. The seminar is held at the Modern Records Centre, the largest UK trade union & industrial relations collection, which will be introduced to us.
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