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Title: Industrial relations in the construction industry : some sociological considerations on wage contracts and trade unionism (1919-1973)
Author: Austrin, Terence Bert
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 1978
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This thesis examines the relationship between the trade union organisations of carpenters and bricklayers, and the different forms of wage contracts used in the construction industry between 1919 and 1973. Wage contracts are understood here to constitute both the manner in which wages are paid and the level, or size of, the bargaining unit that determines payment. The focus is upon the wage contract form as an object of trade union struggle. In part one the struggle by the building employers, and the national trade unions, to replace district bargaining by national bargaining is examined. Part two, the major part of the thesis, is devoted to an analysis of the wage contract known as the labour-only-sub-contract. This contract is understood to be a form of organising, and controlling, labour that is related to the organisation of production, but which at the same time excludes trade union practice. For this reason, it is the object of trade union struggle to remove its use. The reasons for the failure of this struggle are analysed. In part three the specific problems of, and developments within, trade unionism are examined. It is argued, in chapter six, that the unions' problems were aggravated by the lump contract but that fundamentally they were constituted by the wider problem of the position of the worker as casual labour. In chapters seven and eight the main development within the unions is seen as the growth of shop steward committees that are based upon control of the level and form of wages at site level. Chapter seven argues this through the presentation of case study material gathered in Liverpool, whilst chapter eight examines the growth of a national rank and file trade union movement against the lump contract. The last chapter of this section explores these themes in the context of the 1972 national building strike.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: labour ; payment ; trade unions ; wages ; bricklayer ; carpenter ; employer ; failure ; case study