50 years ago, the conflict between the Harold Wilson Labour Government & 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 & 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 on 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.
In 1868, while suffering under major legal restrictions, the British trade unions teamed up to found a central body to lobby for their wider social and industrial aims and rights. Today, when unions are again subject to severe legal disadvantage, it is timely to recall the first Trades Union Congress (TUC) and unions’ achievements, and to look forward on union prospects for the future.
Nearly one million workers in the UK are on zero-hour contracts. A further five million are nominally self-employed. In modern Britain, flexibility is often presented as a way of reconciling pressures between work and family life.
Page 1 of 3 pages
H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.
We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.