Ironmasters and steelmen : authority and independence in Lanarkshire's iron and steel industries, 1870-1900
This thesis analyses the nature of labour relations, particularly the exertion and extent of authority, within Lanarkshire's iron and steel industries from 1870 to 1900. Various issues are addressed: firstly, managerial hegemony and worker autonomy are investigated in each industry. Although significant variations occurred, employers' recurrent ascendancy within the pig iron industry contrasted with labour's extensive influence over work processes in the malleable iron and steel industries. Labour's greater independence in the malleable ironworks and steelworks correlates to higher skill levels in comparison with pig ironworkers, reflected by more substantial wages and more influential trade unions. These factors also produced a more equitable and consensual relationship with capital, which was unable to exhibit the level of authoritarianism wielded by pig ironmasters. The level of collectivisation amongst capital and labour is also illustrated. Examination of production processes reveals extensive labour sectionalism in each industry, which influenced the relationship between different groups or sub-categories of worker and affected the development of trade unionism. Similarly, the continuation of individualistic attitudes amongst employers was a pronounced feature that curtailed the effectiveness of employer organisations. This thesis reinforces the arguments of historians who stress the continued influence of skilled, independent sections of labour and capital's difficulty in exercising significant levels of control. Alternatively, doubt is cast on hypothesis promulgating the homogenisation of labour during the late 19th century. Indeed, little evidence of the collectivisation of either capital or labour is apparent, whilst individualism and heterogeneity characterised Lanarkshire's iron and steel industries during this period.