The mobilisation of and response to 'political' protest strikes 1969-1984.
The thesis traces the development of the political protest strike as a
new tactic within British trade union practice. This tactic evolved in
response to government interference in the internal affairs of trade
unions. The main thrust of the work concerns the study of the processes
of mobilisation and demobilisation within the formal and informal
machinery of union decision making and government.
The dissertation contains the first attempt to record systematically
response rates to these protests nationally and regionally, and over
time. A statistical series has been created which has made it possible
to test for relationships between political strike action, general
industrial militancy and changing levels of unemployment.
The thesis can be regarded as a contribution to the literature on trade
union government structure and internal politics, and to that on
industrial conflict. It reveals the importance of ideological factions
which operate within unions, and suggests that conflict between these
factions is the most important source of division in the internal
politics of trade unionism. It highlights the importance of activists
and lines of argumentation in the process of mobilisation/demobilisation.
The thesis focused specifically on the AUEW(E) and on the Clydeside and
West ~idland regions to allow for comparative study and to test for the
regional impact of factional organisation on response rates