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Title: The Labour Governments and the docks, 1945-51 : international and industrial tension
Author: Phillips, James K.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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This account of the 1945-51 Governments emphasises the extent to which its two principle tasks-economic recovery and the containment of communism - coloured its approach to events in the docks. I argue in the first chapter that the Government enjoyed immensely significant support from the TUC in marshalling working class support for the economic recovery and anti-communism. The ensuing chapters look at how the relationship between the Government and the Unions was affected by developments in the docks, an area of vital economic importance given the export-driven strategy for recovery. In the second chapter I examine the long history of the docks, and point out that the Government's tasks were complicated by the long-term failure of its closest ally from 1945, the Transport and General Workers' Union, to organise its docks membership thoroughly. In the enclosed world of the docks, the workforce traditionally adhered to a system of local and sectional loyalties, rather than the national and industrial loyalities demanded by the TGWU. The implications of this tradition, as they were felt in the 1945-1951 period, I examine in three chapters on separate unofficial dock strikes. These all resulted from industrial disputes, yet Government and Trade Union leaders were anxious to portray them as resulting from political subversion. In Chapter Six I argue that this false characterisation was designed to deflect attention from the Union's difficulties in the docks, and also from a number of problems arising from the introduction of the 1947 Dock Labour Scheme. As both of these institutions, the Union and the Scheme, were regarded as essential to economic recovery, the Government was anxious to protect them from public scrutiny.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available