A History of British Trade Unionism by Henry Pelling

By Henry Pelling

The writer leads the reader via a narrative of fight and improvement protecting greater than 4 centuries: from the medieval guilds and early craftsmen's and labourers' institutions to the dramatic progress of alternate unionism in Britain within the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He indicates how robust personalities resembling Robert Applegarth, Henry Broadhurst, Tom Mann, Ernest Bevin and Walter Citrine have helped to form the development of present-day unionism, and for this version he has additional a bankruptcy "On the protecting: the 1980s". the writer additionally wrote "The Origins of the Labour Party".

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Example text

For a perfectly legitimate purpose', they always comprised 'not only the best workmen, but best men in the moral sense that are to be found in the trade'. This vigorous apologia so impressed John Stuart Mill that he wrote of it: Readers of other classes will see with surprise, not only how great a portion of truth the Unions have on their side, but how much less flagrant and condemnable even their errors appear, when seen under the aspect in which it is only natural that the working classes should themselves regard them.

A national executive, meeting regularly to supervise the secretary's work, was therefore impracticable as yet. Many unions of at least regional size had already adopted the system of appointing a particular branch as the 'governing branch' of the union, to supervise the work of the secretary ; and this system was at first retained by the national unions. Some unions made a point of transferring the 'seat of government' every few years, to prevent any hard feelings arising from local prejudice ; others, including the Engineers, preferred to stay in one place.

If the club belonged to a larger combination, it would send a delegate to join the committee of the body to which it belonged. It was still very unusual, however, for any local club to yield up any considerable proportion of its funds to an outside organisation. * * * Generally speaking, clubs of the type described above were most common among the skilled trades of London and other large towns. The coalminers and the workers in the new textile factory industry of the North were still very largely devoid of permanent organisation ; and like the agricultural labourers and to some extent also the unskilled labourers of the towns, they tended readily to resort to individual acts of violence or intimidation of the type which precipitated the 1825 Select Committee.

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