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Title: The industrial relations of welfare capitalism in Britain, 1870-1939
Author: Fitzgerald, Robert
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1986
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Some historians have depicted industrial welfare as of small significance in the development of British industrial relations. This thesis contains case-studies of many firms and industries which illustrate the prevalence of company welfare provision between 1846-1939 and its usefulness to employers as a labour strategy. While there have been works on specific welfare schemes, this is a monographic study of industrial welfare enabling comparisons to be made between very different industries. The thesis also identifies the formative influences upon the organisation of company provision over a broad time span. Highly capitalised industries needed to invest more in the stability and reliability of their workforces than other trades. Moreover, market control enabled companies to exercise a greater degree of forward planning in the management of production, capital and men. As natural monopolies and the first large-scale enterprises, railways were innovators in industrial management and in the provision of industrial welfare. In more competitive trades, the passing of small firm and ex gratia paternalism and its replacement by more systematic welfare schemes usually followed the formation of large, corporate firms from the 1890s onwards. Changes in the organisation of industrial welfare tended to follow the establishment of the managerial bureaucracies and structures suited to the large company. The thesis argues that profit sharing can only be understood as an element of industrial welfare provision. It shows that, rather than welfare being mainly concerned with factory conditions, employers were more interested in the questions of income maintenance, sick pay and old age pensions. Consequently, employers lobbied Parliament to prevent their industrial welfare schemes from being made redundant by social legislation. By influencing the final form of government proposals, they ensured until the Second World War that company provision was able to continue as part of state welfare schemes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labor Relations