Worker occupations, 1971-1975 : a sociohistorical analysis of the development and spread of sit-ins, work-ins and worker co-operatives in Britain
The "work-in" at the Upper Clyde Shipyards, in July 1971, shattered age old traditions of industrial relations in Britain. It Has the first of over two-hundred workplace occupations to occur in the period. up to the This thesis sets out to examine how it. was that such actions occurred and developed. Several factors are focussed on as being associated with these developments, albeit in varying degrees of importance These are the existance of a socio-economic crisis with consequent effects at the micro level; the 'mishandling' of that crisis at both the macro (government) and the micro (company) level; the existance of a numerically strong and "mature" trade union movement containing a growing militant infrastructure in the form of shop stewardships; and the existance of a political (Communist Party/CPGB) and industrial (Engineering Union/ AUEW) leadership ready and able to capitalise on the situation through that infrastructure. Within the context of the development of occupations the advent of the "Workers' Co-operative" is given attention as an important development. It is argued that while these, to some extent, represented the realisation of the challenge inhereent in the workplace occupation their political impact was of limited effect. They grew out of a situation of widespread militancy which included the regular occurrance of workplace occupations, and the winning of office by a Labour Party ready to accede to some of the demands of that militancy.