Trade Unions and Society
The Struggle for Acceptance, 1850-1880
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First published in 1974, Trade Unions and Society examines the process by which trade unions sought and achieved recognition in the three decades after 1850. It shows a parallel process: on the one hand, trade unionists struggling to attain the indispensable Victorian virtue, ‘respectability’, without sacrificing their essentially protective functions; on the other hand, employers recognizing the value of an ordered system of industrial relation in which trade unions could exert discipline and control over their workers. While this was going on, middle-class radicals (often themselves employers) continued their attack on aristocratic domination of political institutions and looked to a ‘labour aristocracy’ as allies. The book shows the manner in which, thanks to their own efforts and those of their indefatigable publicists, unionists became identified with the respectable elite of the working class. It deals with a crucial period in the trade union development but looks at it not merely from the point of view of the unions, but also that of the employers, politicians, the press, intellectuals, political economists, giving for the first time a rounded picture of trade unionism and industrial relations in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. This book will be of interest to students of economics and history.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Trade-union growth, structure and policy 2. Trade-union strategy 3. Enemies and friends 4. The employers 5. Trade unions and politics 6. Politicians and pressure groups 7. Versus the political economists 8. Trade unions and the law 9. Trade unions and the press 10. Trade unions and the working class Bibliographical notes on trade unionists Notes Select bibliography Index
W. Hamish Fraser