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Colin Barker

Britain: The Wages Struggle

(Spring 1964)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.16, Spring 1964, pp.4-13.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The forms of the struggle may and do constantly change in accordance with varying, relatively particular and temporary causes, but the substance of the struggle, its class content, positively cannot change while classes exist’ – Lenin, Imperialism.

Relatively full employment in postwar Britain and the rest of Western Europe, as well as in the United States, increased the bargaining power of labour considerably. In many industries management found itself, without the disciplining sanction of redundancy, in a weaker position vis-à-vis organised labour than ever before. For a time, up to the late fifties, the most common reaction on the part of the bosses was to make the best of this situation, to give way to labour’s demands wherever the only alternative was a stop in production, and to pass on higher costs in the shape of higher prices. The boom was on, and such a boom as never before.

Inflation was something to be deplored, publicly, but as long as profit margins could be maintained it was not felt as a real problem. However, competition in world markets increased yearly, and with a semi-stagnant economy the bargaining power of labour became more and more of a problem; the never-forgotten dream of a totally malleable and disciplined working class returned, and Chancellors, industrialists and bourgeois economists sought with increasing energy to find ways of achieving the ultimate aim of any ruling class: a working class that knows its place and keeps it, that demands no more than the ruling class is willing to offer, and that is prepared to pay the costs of its rulers’ blunders. This article will attempt to examine some of the strategies adopted by the ruling class and to show the implications for the working class movement in the sixties. The double burden, firstly of Conservative economics, which involved stop-go monetary policies aimed at successively releasing and shutting off demand in response to the vagaries of the political trade cycle, and secondly of an enormous expenditure on armaments that devoured approximately half of the annual investible surplus, produced an economy that was on the surface stable, but that grew at a rate lower than that of any other developed economy. From 1950 to 1955 the real national product per man-year in Britain rose by 1.8 per cent, and from 1955 to 1961 by 1.6 per cent. (The comparable figures for the two periods in other countries are respectively: West Germany, 6.0 and 3.5 per cent; France, 4.3 and 3.5 per cent; Italy, 5.4 and 4.1 per cent; Netherlands, 4.4 and 2.6 per cent; United States, 2.8 and 1.4 per cent.) [1] From 1954 to 1962 Britain’s share of exports in world trade fell from 20.1 to 15.2 per cent. [2] The balance of payments has been continually precarious; their relatively healthy situation recently reflects not an increasing success on the part of British exporters but an advantageous change in the terms of trade, to the detriment of the primary-producing countries. [3] More equable terms of trade for the primary producers would make the British balance of payments problem more acute; there are signs that recent trading agreements in some commodities will act to raise the prices of raw materials. [4]

Partly because of the benefits of the 1949 devaluation of the pound, the effects of stagnation were not at first felt, for export prices rose more slowly than did home prices without unduly reducing profit margins; and with a boom on abroad, prices there rose fairly quickly, even if not as fast as in Britain. However in the late fifties and early sixties a series of chronic balance of payments problems showed up the structural weaknesses of British capitalism in bold relief.

The ‘liberal’ Tory policy of deflation to create unemployment, so as to cut down wage increases and price increases, was shown to be bankrupt; a large volume of output was lost, and there was no improvement in British capital’s competitive position. To bring unemployment to levels where it would have been effective as a price-cutting mechanism was politically too dangerous, even for a cynical Treasury. It became clear that other policies would have to be found, and from the late fifties we have seen successive attempts by Tory Chancellors to find a viable way of increasing the rate of growth of the economy – the costs of the new policies of course to be passed on to the working class the best way possible.

Three main policies have been proposed, each in effect amounting to a different tactic in one overall strategy, an attempt to reduce the power to bargain of the working class and its representatives. The first is the method whereby capital and the state unite – as in the National Economic Development Council – in an attempt to involve the upper echelons of the representatives of the working class in responsibility for some aspects of decision-making, and so to neutralise them as opposition forces. The second is less subtle, and has the longest heritage. It is the tactic of open conflict, whereby the employers, with or without the assistance of the state, are prepared to take a strike or other forms of industrial action (after assessing the likely outcome) as a calculated attempt to weaken the labour force. The third is relatively new to Britain, and has been most highly developed in the US, where unions are persuaded to sign long-term contracts which guarantee an annual rise in wages (and sometimes other benefits) for all workers, in return for the abandonment, for anything from two to five years, of the right to make any further claim on the employers. These tactics, with all kinds of variation, can be found alone or in combination in the history of all the countries of the Western bloc since the war, and their frequency of use is likely to become greater as competition increases.

2. A National Incomes Policy?

The current attempt by the government and the employers (and by some trade union leaders) to persuade the working class to accept some sort of incomes policy falls into the first category. With it goes parallel effort to persuade the working class that ‘we are all in it together,’ that the interests of each individual and class are those of the whole ‘nation,’ to obscure the realities of class society in a fog of slogans of co-operation. The legitimate interests of the working class become the sectional interests of a selfish minority. This idea of society as a harmonious whole has a long heritage, but the forms it takes today are clearly related to the rise of large-scale monopoly capitalism. [5]

This ideology has appealed particularly to the right of the Labour Party, whose theoreticians long ago lost sight of any adequate notion of class; Crosland is the chief exemplar, but official Labour Party policy hurries along in his footsteps. With the right of the Labour Party go the TUC and the majority of the union leaders, anxious for respectability, for knighthoods and the plaudits of The Daily Mail. Of course this is no new development; caution and moderation have been the stock-in-trade of the big union leaders since long before the General Strike. The colour of the Government has made no difference. [6]

Now the process is being taken further, with the National Economic Development Council, where a fairly willing TUC is quietly coming to accept its part in the planning of capitalism. Under a Labour Government this process is likely to be taken still further, and its implications for the official trade union movement are very clear. A national incomes policy of the sort proposed by the Labour right (and enthusiastically supported by some of Harold Wilson’s strange new friends) would be likely to involve much more centralisation of power in the hands of the TUC, which would have to be able ‘to speak for all and to enforce its word.’

‘It will certainly mean the relegation of the present collective bargaining machinery to a secondary place in the structure since the crucial decision, of the size of the general increase for any one year, will be taken elsewhere ... It also means that the central skill of many union leaders, that of negotiator, will be less important, with consequent effects on their general status.’ [7]

In return for this loss of function, however, they will perhaps be offered compensations:

‘It would probably require a number of the most influential and respected union leaders to take a step up from their position of union secretary to some higher position, perhaps in the government.’ [8]

The TUC is not likely to be averse to developments of this sort, hoping that its voice may become more influential in the shaping of national policies. And, given the opportunity, there can be no doubt that that voice will speak in very moderate and reasonable tones.

Of late, much to its sorrow, the sweet and reasonable voice of the TUC has not been heard very loudly in the corridors of Whitehall, despite its strenuous efforts to gain the ear of many a civil servant and Cabinet Minister:

‘The growing frustration experienced by the Council can be seen from a study of the reports which its specialists committees make to Congress. Here one can read of the failure of the Economic Committee to influence budgetary policy; the Production Committee records its criticisms of Government plans for high-unemployment areas; and the Education Committee reports its unsuccessful attempts to secure the implementation of the Crowther Report. But the decline in influence can be seen at its most tragic in the field of Social Insurance and Industrial Welfare; topics of great concern to the unions, where the General Council’s past achievements have been considerable ...’ [9]

The TUC has failed to get the number of Factory Inspectors increased to a satisfactory level, to get concessions for the industrially injured, to get compensation benefits standardised for those injured before 1948, etc.

‘Labour’s National Health Act gave the Minister power to provide appliances for the disabled. Consequently motor-tricycles were provided for those whose disability involved a loss of both legs. During the last few years specially adapted small cars have been designed for the use of the disabled, and they have been supplied, under the National Health Service, to the war-disabled. Yet successive Tory Ministers have refused to extend this provision to the industrially disabled. The TUC has pointed out that tricycles are less reliable than cars, and in cases of breakdown disabled men have been stranded for long periods ... Despite the injustice and hardship caused ... and the trifling cost involved, the representations of the TUC have had no effect.’ [10]

This seems to be apt comment on George Woodcock’s claim at the 1963 Congress that the TUC has moved from Trafalgar Square into the committee rooms. Organised force would have won this in five minutes; there can be no doubt of the generous and sympathetic reaction that a call for industrial support for this claim would have produced from many groups of workers. But the TUC has long been cut off from the working class, and such a call is almost unthinkable.

Apart from the question of the institutional changes necessary for a ‘national incomes policy’, there is the further question, is an incomes policy possible at all under capitalism, at least in the terms in which those on the ‘left’ who support the idea of such a policy speak? Some of the slightly more militant union leaders have declared that they will lend their support to wage-planning only if all other incomes can be planned. So, for instance, Frank Cousins, in his union journal for September 1963:

‘A real examination of total incomes, full employment and redistribution of wealth would necessitate profits, interest, rent, investment and a fairer taxation policy being brought within the scope of the Government’s approach. Under those circumstances we would not only have to accept that real wages should be considered, we would welcome this.’ [11]

Unfortunately, as Frank Cousins ought to realise, this is not possible, under capitalism. Other observers are far more realistic:

’The notion that company profits can be limited to, say, a four per cent annual increase in line with the projected annual increase in national productivity is ludicrous. In any particular year the profits of any one industry, which may be recovering from a slump, will be advancing by, say, 50 per cent, while the profits of another, which may be turning down from a boom, will be declining by, say, 10 per cent. To put an extra tax on profits which have risen through the greater skill of the management would be to tax and discourage efficiency. The Labour Party must accustom itself to the idea that the efficient profit-makers in a mixed economy are the pillars of the trading state. It is private enterprise which runs the export trade, which enables the nation to pay its way in the world and secure a surplus on its balance of payments. Sometimes it is the flamboyant business tycoon, drawing on an immense expense account, who is responsible for the most spectacular success in foreign markets. Wilson has got to make those businessmen feel that they can work with profit under a Labour Government. And by “with profit” I do not mean a meagre profit.’ [12]

Nor is a long-run limitation of profits over a number of years possible. If any attempt were made to ‘control’ profits, capital would simply move to sunnier climes. Capitalism needs its profits to reinvest and retool. Any serious suggestion at control would lead to a complete shutting up of investment. Dividends could be limited, at least, it is proposed, but the same strictures apply. In the District Bank Review for September 1963 it was suggested that dividends might be limited (profits could not, for any limitation would only lead to higher prices); however, the authors made it clear that an average annual rate of return of eight per cent would be needed!

If profits and dividends cannot be limited, what does a national incomes policy amount to? Can it really be said to be anything more than wage restraint?

What happens when the trade unions completely abdicate their bargaining role in the ‘national’ interest of increased growth was amply illustrated after the war in the Netherlands. In 1954 real wages were still at the same level as in 1947, while the Dutch national income had risen over the same period by some 60 per cent, and industrial production had risen by 75 per cent. [13] Since 1954 Dutch wages have been ‘liberalised’ to some extent, but this has not been sufficient to prevent the workers’ share of the national income from falling further:

‘When the “means of production are fully employed, every rise in wages cannot but have an inflationary effect. But in fact, even if the wages earners can be persuaded to “moderate” their claims during a period of full employment, no government in a capitalist regime has a chance of moderating” the bosses, or prices and profits. The paradoxical result is that it is precisely in a period of full employment that the relative share of wages in the national income is in danger of falling, if the unions let themselves be gulled by the “menace of inflation” and the “vicious circle.” And this is exactly what has happened in the Netherlands, where the wage earner’s income has fallen from 92.3 per cent of the average income for an active person in 1952 to 87.5 per cent in 1957 and to 85.8 per cent in 1960, while the same wage earner’s income has fallen from 74.8 per cent of the entrepreneur’s in 1952 to 60 per cent in 1957 and to 55.2 per cent in 1960.’ [14]

From being the highest paid worker in Western Europe before the war, with wages at least 35 per cent above those received by the Belgian worker, the average Dutch worker now receives wages 20 per cent lower than those in Belgium and England and 30 per cent below those in German. (It should be remarked that the Government which instituted the Dutch’s ‘national incomes policy’ was a Social Democratic one.) While it is exceptional under capitalism for the share of wages in the national income to rise, it is always possible for it to fall. Indeed, there is an inherent tendency under capitalism for them to do so, which can only be prevented by vigorous action on the part of the working class. In the long run higher wages (outside very close limits, defined by the needs of capital) will always be passed on in the form of higher prices, to protect the rate of profit, but there is no ‘countervailing tendency’ inherent in capitalism which pushes wages up together with higher profits or prices:

‘A gain in their (the workers’) real standard of living of nearly 44 per cent in 11 years – 3½ per cent per annum compound – does not stand up against a rise of 200 per cent (in real terms) in the value of equity shares which the owners of equity shares enjoyed, which was at the rate of 10½ per cent per annum compound. And the workers never managed to win a larger share of the national income. Their share remained at a little over 42 per cent throughout the Conservative regime.’ [15]

And this during a period when there was no ‘incomes policy’ to inhibit workers’ demands.

It is true, of course, that workers who are prepared to accept second place in a vigorous and technically progressive capitalist economy that is expanding fast can do well for a time, in terms both of their standard of living and of their level of employment. So Germany, where real wages in 1950 were 30 per cent lower than those in Britain, are now definitely higher, and are increasing at two or three times the British rate. [16] But this cannot be a solution for all capitalist countries together, in conditions of world competition. Nor in the long run can it be a solution for the German working class. German economic growth is already slowing down and workers are rinding it difficult to maintain the advance of recent years. We may perhaps suggest that a ‘national incomes policy’ in Britain will fail, not because the union leaders will abandon the idea as much as because on the shop-floor level it will be meaningless. The real struggle for wages – in many industries, though not all – takes place at the level of the workshop, the level of the steward or convenor bargaining on the rate for the particular job, and bargaining with the threat of action behind him. This, not the current caperings of the union leaders, is the true measure of working-class strength in Britain. Between 1945 and 1960 average weekly wage rates rose by 90 per cent, while average earnings rose by 130 per cent (in the motor industry the average rise was 144 per cent). [17] Within an industry there are wide variations from region to region and from factory to factory, which reflect not ‘market forces’ but variations in the organised strength and combativeness of workers. These variations are in some cases considerably levelled out through the activity of shop stewards’ combine committees, which help to prevent large disparities arising between levels of earnings in different factories and areas. [18] Of course this type of bargaining structure is not entirely a matter for rejoicing among socialists, for sectional consciousness can predominate over class consciousness, but the possibilities that arise from this situation are very encouraging.

And at the same time the employers are not completely unified on every issue. While the interests of some lie firstly in keeping down costs (and hence in support of the ‘guiding light’) others are more concerned about keeping production flowing smoothly and will make concessions to organised workers which are well above what the employing class as a whole has determined as the ‘national interest.’ So Ford and Vauxhall last year, in spite of the fact that by granting five per cent increases they greatly weakened the solid front of the employers as a whole. The National Incomes Commission chided the Scottish builders for giving bonuses, and called on them to offer greater resistance to demands for increase:

‘... the entirely haphazard practice on the part of individual employers of making these additional payments is bound to undermine an incomes policy.’ [19]

One of the principal functions of the National Incomes Commission may well turn out to be that of calling for greater class solidarity by the employers. Its rejection by the unions leaves it with little else to do. Nevertheless, it is likely that under a Labour Government the union leaders may well decide to support a national wages policy, for a shorter or longer term. Certainly without their support the venture will be entirely meaningless. Whether it will be effective (in the situation where the union leaders do decide to lend it their support) will depend on the strength of the workshop organisations, which certainly have nothing to gain and very likely a great deal to lose from it. In any case, the very attempt to institute such a wages policy will tend further to increase the alienation of the workers at shop-floor level from their official leaders.

3. Employer Offensives

If a national incomes policy which is accepted by the union leaders is not possible (and this is by no means certain yet), other developments certainly are. To some extent it is true that in any year the size of national settlements at least – and these still largely determine the standard of living and conditions of work of a large section of the working class – is conditioned by the success or failure of certain key claims, in particular those that come from the strongest unions. There is a strong case to be made for the proposition that certain settlements in any one year determine (within limits) other settlements; once a trend has been set the employers in other industries tend to follow suit, since workers deprived of the rises that other workers are receiving tend to become more militant. Sometimes this can be to the advantage of the unions; sometimes it is not:

‘The small average size of subsequent wage increases in 1958 and much of 1959 seems to have been in large measure due to the psychological climate created by the failure of the bus strike. It is true that unemployment was rising throughout 1958, and this might have been expected to moderate wage increases anyway; on the other hand, retail prices rose rapidly during 1957 and the first half of 1958, and this might have been expected to make the unions quite militant in their attempts to restore the real value of wages.

‘It seems legitimate to infer from this that it may be possible to influence the size of keynote settlements, and hence of the succeeding wage round. Obviously a Labour Government would not want this influence to be exercised by the failure of a strike. The only way it could be exercised is by agreement on the part of union executive committees that a reasonable annual wage increase is three or four per cent rather than anything higher.’ [20]

This sort of policy could be a great deal more damaging to the working class than the euphoric glow of the NEDC, for it is a policy that strikes at the strongest workers in an attempt to bring all to heel. The outcome of any particular attempt of this sort to weaken the unions would depend on the solidarity of the government and the employers, and on the solidarity shown between different groups of workers, regardless of their union leaders. The 1958 bus strike was defeated primarily because the underground men failed to support it. Lack of solidarity between workers could in some cases allow the sort of policy put forward by The Economist recently (in its most class-conscious mood) to become effective:

‘... the first rule for any government that intends to run its future incomes policy “in co-operation with the TUC.” If some specific test case blows up for incomes policy, with a strike threat impending and an inflationary wage claim on the table, it would be quite fatal to ask Mr Woodcock or any other trade unionist of his group to use his good offices as a peacemaker ... The proper course for a government which intends to stick by an incomes policy in such circumstances, is to stand firm and to take the onus of resisting the strike upon itself. Instead of putting the TUC and its general secretary into an impossible situation by asking them to mediate, it should be ready to allow some militant union leader to embroil himself in an impossible strike situation if he must and then feel glad if the TUC extracts him from that impossible situation if it can; this is what happened in 1958 when Mr Cousins was entangled in a London bus strike and when the TUC then refused to support him.’ [21]

And given Government support, there is no doubt that some employers would be glad to fight it out with the unions, and to risk several weeks’ production in the hope of weakening the union significantly. This was the case in the 1957 engineering and shipbuilding strike, when the employers were under the impression that the Government would support their attempt to resist the union pay-claim. In the event the Tories did not give them the support they had expected, and the engineering and shipbuilding workers were given five per cent by an arbitration tribunal. (The same happened the following year in the case of docks, when the Government was faced with the threat of a national dock strike.) After the engineering strike the employers issued a statement deploring the Government’s interference:

‘Twice in four years the Federation have been prepared to “fight it out” with the unions. Clearly the unions’ capacity to pay strike benefit was limited. Such a course, involving, as it would have done, the virtual closing down of the industry, might have been a worthwhile calculated risk. It was no occasion for the kind of compromise which would inevitably emerge from a Court of Enquiry.

‘The Federation can hardly be blamed for heeding Government warnings calling attention to the economic dangers of further wage increases. Like the Czechs in 1938, their complaint was that they were not allowed to resist in 1954 and 1957 after they had received every encouragement to have a firm purpose and to make it known to the unions.’ [22]

Whether or not such a head-on clash between employers and unions is likely to occur again on such a scale is anyone’s guess, although as increasing competition threatens profit margins the pressures on the employers to try this may become very great. Nor is it clear that a single union or group of unions can by themselves win a protracted strike. The engineering employers’ assessment of the ability of the unions to pay strike benefit in 1957 was very accurate, and had the struggle been fought out over a longer period, as the employers wished, the outcome for the unions concerned would have depended on the degree of support that they could muster from other sections of the labour movement who were not directly involved in the dispute. In such a situation, the role that the state plays is clearly crucial; and, as noted above by Stewart and Winsbury, a Labour Government is more likely to wish to avoid a major defeat for the unions than is a Tory one.

The role that a Labour Government is likely to play in the event of large-scale unofficial disputes is, however, less likely to be to the advantage of the workers concerned; and there is every reason to expect further strong and continuous attacks on shop steward organisations by the employers, such as were mounted at British Light Steel Pressings in 1961 and at Fords of Dagen-ham in 1962, where in both cases the shop stewards were defeated, with the connivance of the union leaders. [23] In the case of conflicts with shop stewards, in particular, the employers are in certain circumstances likely to risk the costs of a strike (even deliberately to create the circumstances in which a strike is inevitable), especially where they can rely on the support of the union leadership.

Nonetheless, on the whole it is true that long drawn-out strikes are less likely to appeal to the employers, as the capital-labour ratio continues to rise with improved technology. This is particularly true in manufacturing. With a high ratio of capital to labour it becomes increasingly important to maintain full-time production, to get as much use as possible out of expensive equipment. Furthermore, since the various parts of the production process are inseparably linked, it becomes possible for workers to exert pressure on an employer very effectively by removing a relatively small number of key workers from the production process, thus very swiftly bringing all production to a standstill. Against this stands the fact that increasingly the possibility of supervisory personnel continuing production at a lower level during a dispute becomes a reality. This has been the case particularly in the United States (see below). Furthermore, and particularly where an industry runs below capacity, certain employers are able to stock-pile finished goods or use similar means to help them withstand a strike; this happened before the BLSP dispute and before the dispute at Thrupp and Maberley’s in 1960. On the other hand, that a strike can hurt an employer very quickly was shown last winter at the Steel Company of Wales, some of whose customers were reported within a week of the beginning of the strike to be seeking supplies elsewhere.

4. Long-Term Contracts – The USA

On the whole, most managements are especially concerned to avoid disputes, and an increasingly popular means for doing this is the long-term contract. The first important contract of this type was signed between the United Automobile Workers and General Motors in 1948; and the American unions’ experience with long-term contracts is worth recounting, for it throws some light on the implications of these agreements (which already in January 1964 cover over three million workers) for the working class in Britain.

In 1948 hardly any American workers were covered by long-term contracts, but by the end of the 1950’s ‘80 to 90 per cent of the contracts covering more than 5,000 workers had a duration of two years or more. Although the equivalent figure for contracts covering fewer than 5,000 workers is not available, it is justifiable to conclude that a substantial majority of American workers under collective bargaining agreements are currently covered by long-term agreements and have been for some years.’ [24] About 70 per cent of all major agreements in 1958 scheduled future wage increases.

The period immediately after the war was marked by a large number of major strikes. 200,000 workers at General Motors struck for 111 days in 1945-46, 450,000 in basic steel struck for 24 days, and 174,000 in electrical engineering struck for up to several months. Management was forced to accept that the prewar militancy of the unions (particularly those affiliated to the CIO) had not decreased. The unions were strong and determined, and management was forced, after offering considerable resistance, to make large concessions. In the postwar situation employers were principally concerned to keep production going; prices could always be raised in a generally inflationary economy to cover the costs of higher wages.

One of the strongest unions was the United Automobile Workers, one of whose Vice-Presidents was Walter Reuther. Reuther had annoyed the management of General Motors considerably by demanding a say in their pricing policy in the wage negotiations of 1945-46, going so far as to propose that UAW members would accept a lower rise if the Corporation would agree not to raise prices. A Mr Coen of General Motors replied to Reuther’s suggestion, which received wide and sympathetic publicity:

‘Why don’t you get down to your size and get down to the kind of job you are supposed to be doing as a trade union leader, and talk about the money you would like to have for your people and let the labour statesmanship go for a while?’ [25]

Management had no intention of handing over one of its most sacred prerogatives to any union leader. The General Motors president told Reuther on a similar occasion in 1940, ‘If you are interested in production I’ll give you a job.’ [26]

The government, to the annoyance of the employers, had intervened in the 1945-46 dispute, and the President’s ‘fact-finding board’ had supported Reuther’s demand for General Motors’ books to be opened for inspection. Faced with the possibility of further government intervention and a generally aggressive union attitude, the General Motors’ President, C.E. Wilson, proposed to Reuther that the UAW should sign a long-term contract. After a little hesitation Reuther agreed. This contract, the first significant long-term contract in the US, ran for two years. It provided for adjustments to wages to be made as the cost-of-living index rose and fell, and for an immediate increase of eleven cents an hour, to be followed in 1949 by a further three cents, the so-called ‘annual improvement factor’ which was equal to the estimated rise in national productivity of two per cent. General Motors only accepted the two per cent figure after making sure that ‘we could do better than two per cent annually.’ [27]

The General Motors contract aroused a good deal of interest at the time, but no major company decided to follow suit. Allowing for the cost-of-living adjustments that were made over the period 1948-50, the General Motors contract gave the workers the equivalent of an increase of 13 cents in 1948. It is interesting to note that the two other large automobile manufacturers both granted increases of 13 cents an hour in 1948. At the end of 1949 Ford and the UAW negotiated a pension-insurance fringe scheme that was worth about 10 cents an hour. Chrysler, after the management had protracted the negotiations, and the union had struck all the Chrysler plants for 100 days, conceded a similar package. In 1950 General Motors and the UAW signed a five-year contract, still with a two per cent ‘improvement factor’, but with a more generous fringe package than had been won from Ford or Chrysler. The General Motors’ President’s argument, that ‘such contracts were simply methods of doing on purpose what would otherwise be done by accident,’ [28] began to seem very plausible to management. Nevertheless, most companies remained unimpressed, and preferred the risk of annual bargaining, still hoping that a change in the economic situation might significantly weaken the unions. A survey at the time found that 85 per cent of the companies replying to a questionnaire did not plan to use the formula, and 50 per cent expected it to have unfavourable effects on the competitive position of General Motors. [29]

The impact of the Korean War on prices soon altered this. The rest of the automobile industry hurried to sign contracts giving the same terms as the GM-UAW contract of 1950, and other industries adopted similar versions, for periods of up to five years. Some of these agreements allowed only for adjustments in line with changes in the Consumer Price Index, and others only for annual ‘improvement factors.’ Once the inflationary period had passed, many of these contracts were abandoned. The next major wave of long-term contracts came in the 1955-56 period, when contracts were signed in electrical equipment, steel, construction, railroads and trucking, as well as in automobiles. The contracts signed by the UAW provided for annual increases of 2½ per cent (still in line with estimates for national productivity) but those in other industries gave workers increases above this level. It is clear that it was not the threat of further inflation that induced the signing of these contracts (except in the case of the railroads); ten years after the war the unions still seemed as strong as ever, and two minor recessions had been weathered without any great loss. Management’s decision to try long-term contracts on a much wider scale reflects the growing conviction that major depressions could be avoided in the future and the acceptance of relatively aggressive unions in the major organised sectors of the economy:

‘By 1955 it was evident that the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 had not significantly weakened established unions and that the contemporary Republican administration was not likely to alter substantially the relative positions of the parties to collective bargaining ... If the annual wage re-openings that the then-existing collective bargaining contracts called for were to result in a monotonous succession of yearly wage increases, it made sense to consider scheduling raises in advance to avoid repeated negotiations and potential strikes.’ [30]

In the late fifties, however, the economic environment in America changed, and the change was signalled among other things by a more aggressive stance on the part of management, a stance that has not been without its successes for the employers:

‘Between 1957 and 1961 the economy experienced a recession, an incomplete and unsatisfactory recovery, followed by another recession. Concern over a persistent inflationary trend and increasing competition in both foreign and domestic markets focussed attention on both price and cost behaviour. Poor economic conditions provided an incentive for management to adopt a more vigorous stance in bargaining as well as an opportunity to make this policy effective in at least some instances where the union bargaining position was weakened.’ [31]

Competition has increased, not only in world markets, but also in the internal US market. Between 1955 and 1959, for instance imports of steel quadrupled, those of motor vehicles rose by eight times, and those of electrical machinery by more than five times. [32]

Investment expenditure, encouraged by the state through tax concessions, has been concentrated in those areas where labour and hence wage costs can be reduced, a development that has led to the growth of unemployment in the major industrial centres. This development has again had the effect of weakening the power of the unions very markedly, for much American industry is now running considerably below capacity, with the result that techniques such as stock-piling during the period before a new contract is negotiated become possible. This happened during the 1956 steel strike, when the unions were, however, still strong enough to defeat the employers, and win substantial concessions:

‘When the 1956 steel strike began, some authorities estimated that inventories were at an all-time high. In a letter to wives of strikers, the president of the union said, “Warehouses are bulging ... This shutdown means that your husband is out of work now instead of working short weeks or being unemployed altogether later.” The first 100 days of the strike created very little economic pressure; and once the stoppage had ended, industry resumed production with surprising speed.’ [33]

By 1961 the steel industry was running at only 50-55 per cent of capacity [34], and in 1959 the steelworkers were badly defeated in a long strike that was provoked by the employers, who insisted on an eight-point speed-up programme that they knew the unions would not accept. The steelworkers in 1956 had won a higher wage increase than the employers considered they could afford: in particular the employers wished to scrap the cost-of-living clause in the agreement, which had proved more costly than they had expected (the seeming stability of the price index in 1955 and 1956 being due to the deflation of farm prices from their all-time high during the Korean period). The 1960 agreement put a limit on the amount of cost-of-living bonus that the steel-owners were prepared to pay. Other employers had prepared themselves in advance for a long strike by putting in large orders for steel in the spring of 1959. [35] Significantly, now that the steel unions have been weakened, the employers are ceasing to bother with long-term contracts: the 1962 and 1963 agreements did not provide for deferred increases. Heavy investment, as well as allowing for the possibility of stock-piling (a danger that affected the coalminers in the US as long ago as 1948-9 [36]), also decreases the power of a union that does strike to stop production:

‘In 1960 the United Automobile Workers and the International Union of Machinists struck five New England plants of the United Aircraft Corporation. The company kept its plants open and operating. When the unions caved in after two months, they had won so little that the workers in the Sikosky division voted to decertify the UAW which had represented them for 15 years.’ [37]

This development is particularly a danger for unions whose members work in semi-automated plants:

‘Once production has become highly automatic, a small number of supervisors or non-strikers may be able to maintain operations without strike-breakers. Perhaps the co-operation of the Teamsters would save the situation for a striking union, but unless deliveries could be interrupted an employer might be able to hold out almost indefinitely. Oil refining is a case in point. The Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers recently struck for 191 days against the American Oil Company’s refinery at Texas City ... On the same day the company announced its intention to continue operating. Within ten months the rate of production had been raised to about seventy-five per cent of normal, with 300 supervisors working six and seven days a week.’ [38]

And there are plenty of other examples. As technological advance has strengthened the hand of the employers in the US, they have been quick to take the initiative by uniting in a common bargaining policy towards the unions. This was the case in autos in 1958 and in steel in 1959. Strike-insurance plans exist between employers in a number of industries, often on a scale that puts American union funds completely in the shade; in the airlines, for instance, strike benefit paid to employers between October 1958 and April 1961 came to about 15 million dollars. [39] Other highly successful policies have put the US employers definitely on top for the time being, especially since the unions have been slow to find new methods of struggle which fit modern conditions. Under the Kennedy administration, the employers have received further help, on a scale not paralleled before, from the state – ‘in the national interest.’ The US government recently has interfered in bargaining even before negotiations have properly begun, has attacked demands for shorter hours in spite of the growing level of unemployment, [40] and on one occasion paid the strike costs of United Aircraft, a piece of ‘unabashed strike-breaking.’ [41]

The present group of American leaders have proved on the whole incapable of responding to this new situation by developing new forms of struggle. The future of the American working class depends on the future of their rank-and-file, shop-floor organisations, whose activities necessarily reflect the real problems that face the workers today. That the stewards have been an effective thorn in the side of the employers is beyond doubt; one management adviser comments:

‘Management has discovered that in some departments the union steward plays a more active role in determining work assignments than does the foreman. An aggressive steward or committeeman may browbeat an ineffective supervisor by threatening to file a grievance if he makes an assignment to certain job incumbents. To avoid this risk and believing it better to have union concurrence, the foreman may yield to the wishes of the union representative. Without top management knowing it, supervision may be turning over to the union a basic management responsibility.’ [42]

Other ‘basic management responsibilities’ have come under the effective control of the stewards and committeemen, including the determination of overtime, the right to hire and fire, and so on. Nor has management been slow to react, especially in the last few years. The following is typical:

‘Management in one plant made a list of “left wing” leaders and over the years kept an extremely close watch over these men – observing every case of absenteeism, poor workmanship, or violation of company rules. Some quit rather than withstand such pressure, and enough evidence was collected against most of the rest so that they could be fired.’ [43]

Conscious attempts to limit the support for the union were made in a number of plants by making it more difficult for stewards to process grievances, and so on. In some cases, stewards are now being paid by management – an effective means of making them ineffective.

One particularly class-conscious management, that of General Electric, led by its Vice-President, Lemuel L. Boulware, has developed a whole intricate strategy (named after its founder) designed to weaken union support and to make it more difficult for the union to conduct any form of effective industrial action:

‘In brief, Boulwareism involves a continuing programme of direct company communication with employees on a wide variety of topics, including current and prospective issues in collective bargaining. In collective bargaining, the more spectacular aspect of the technique, the company meets with the union to discuss union demands and then at an appropriate time advances what it believes to be a fair proposal. From the union point of view the element of low cunning in the procedure is that the offer actually may be very close to the anticipated final settlement. Having made what it declares to be its final offer, the company announces a date at which it will be put into effect for all unorganised workers and for any union that accepts it, and asserts that any settlement reached after that date will not be retroactive. The company’s proposal is widely publicised to its employees, and an effort is made to build up grassroots pressure on the union leadership for its acceptance. In essence, the strategy is designed to minimise the role of the union in bargaining and particularly to undercut the image of the union as the indispensable champion of employee interests against a grasping employer.’ [44]

In the case of General Electric, this strategy, which has been very successful and has been imitated by other companies, is particularly successful because of the conscious diversification of plant and operations over a long period (‘Boulwareism’ began in 1947):

‘From the labour relations point of view, this diversification is highly significant. It is clearly impossible to shut down this company by striking a key plant, as the auto workers shut down Ford by striking a forge shop in 1953. Moreover, in planning its general programme of expansion during the last decade, GE has kept in view the employee-relations aspect of plant operations and has built second or satellite plants in many cases where operations of a group of plants might be jeopardised by a strike in a sole supplying plant.’ [45]

Using this sort of technique, General Electric in 1960 forced the unions to accept a new long-term contract with a significant innovation: wage increases in future were to come every eighteen months instead of every year.

5. Long-Term Contracts – Britain

In the American experience, it is clear, a large part of investment has been directed into technological innovation aimed at cutting labour costs, in a fairly planned and systematic way. This planning of investment, which in the social conditions of American capitalism is against the interests of the American working class (since it creates rising unemployment and decreases organised labour’s bargaining power), has been facilitated by long-term contracts, which make future costs and continued production more predictable. If for no other reason, we must, before we accept Harold Wilson’s vision of a ‘new scientific age,’ ask under what social conditions this new scientific age is to dawn. And to date Wilson has given the British working class little reason to suppose that changes in its fundamental social conditions – in particular, in its relations to power – form part of the programme. For full workers’ control – the only solution for the working class – the new ‘bright young men in the boardrooms’ are more likely to read, at best, the sham idiocies of joint works councils. We may expect more of the following:

‘In the factories workers must be consulted more by the management and treated as partners in the enterprise. Of course, managements must retain control over policy, but in the day-to-day administration of the factory the management and its labour force must co-operate through joint committees and these joint committees must include the shop stewards .The problem of industrial relations is largely psychological and the labour officers of big managements need some training in psychiatry.’ [46]

The development of long-term contracts in Britain has been too recent for any very definite conclusions to be drawn yet. British industry has not yet reached the level of automation (or of unemployment) that has been reached in the US, but it could easily do so within ten years or less, especially with government ‘encouragement’. That the result will be a weakening of union bargaining power similar to that in the US seems indubitable, especially if the present trend to long-term contracts continues. At the end of 1963 The Times estimated that about three million workers were covered by long-term contracts. [47] If we add those workers who are covered by agreements signed by individual companies (such as Ilford Limited) rather than at national level, the figure may be nearer three and a half millions, and in a number of other industries plans are under way for long-term agreements to be made during 1964. [48] Generally these contracts have been for two or three years (more often the latter) but the Ilford Limited agreement is to run for five.

The first thing to note about the British agreements is the relatively small size of increase that has been won, some of the agreements (notably the November 1963 three-year agreement in furniture manufacturing, which gave an annual increase of only 1.8 per cent) falling well below the limit proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Whereas in the United States the strongest unions tended to be the first to sign the agreements, in Britain, with some exceptions, the majority of the recent wave of long-term agreements has been accepted by the weaker and less militant unions. In the case of the building industry, the low level of increase was not due to the lack of militancy of the ordinary building workers, but to that of their leaders: after a week-long strike in August 1963 which was very well supported throughout England and Wales the union leaders accepted an extra penny addition to the employers’ earlier offer, this penny to suffice for three years. (Fortunately for the builders, however, they are not – unlike many other groups of workers, especially those in direct government employment or in the nationalised industries – entirely dependent on national agreements, being able to force up rates on individual sites through their own militancy.)

One reason for the acceptance of the long-term agreement by the unions seems to be the desire to obtain the 40-hour week, without having to fight for it. Reluctance to use the strike weapon to win shorter hours has led unions to accept long-term agreements (that give them no more than they could have won through annual bargainings) in order to win this concession from the employers, and at the considerable risk of weakening themselves in the long run. The Confederation of Engineering and Shipbuilding Unions actually asked the employers to grant them a long-term contract – the employers rejected the demand, recognising rather more realistically than the unions that no national agreement in engineering or shipbuilding could be relied upon to stabilise their wage costs in the individual workshops and yards. It is very likely, however, that many engineering employers may attempt to obtain long-term factory or company agreements which might, if accepted by the unions, tend to reduce the effectiveness of the shop stewards’ organisations in the industry, at least in the area of wage-bargaining. (During the 1963 overtime ban in engineering, at least one company signed a local three-year agreement.) A national long-term agreement in engineering would not significantly affect the shop stewards at all, and for this reason alone is unlikely to occur, although a working party has been set up to study the question. Local agreements between one company and the union, however, could have the effect of weakening the shop steward organisations, for these contracts would be enforceable by law and could seriously limit the scope of the shop-floor bargaining process. A shop steward who fails to produce the goods (and the goods include more wages for his members) is immediately in a weaker position vis-à-vis the men he represents. Obviously this type of development would depend on all sorts of local conditions.

That in the long run the questions of redundancy and speed-up are likely to be linked to the emergence of long-term agreements, in Britain as in the US, was demonstrated in the cases of the London busmen, the printers and the electricity supply workers.

The London busmen in April 1963 rejected a proposed long-term agreement offered by London Transport, because it was linked with proposals for ‘increasing productivity,’ proposals which meant working under even worse conditions than at present for next to no wage-gain; for the busmen to have accepted these proposals would have amounted to an acceptance on their part of the responsibility that properly belongs to the London Transport Executive for the acute short-staffing of the buses, and a further worsening of their conditions. [49]

The printing workers in September 1962 signed an agreement that gave them a rise of only 2¼ per cent a year for three years, a figure considerably below the ‘minimum’ that the union leaders had said they would accept. Under pressure from the unions a clause was inserted in the agreement, couched in very general and – in practical terms – meaningless language, which was intended to protect the jobs of the workers affected by new processes and methods of production; there was no mention, however, of unemployment resulting from take-overs, the biggest problem by far for printing workers in recent years. In January 1963 the electricity supply workers were given a three-year contract that Charles Doyle (one of the shop stewards who led the unofficial work-to-rule in support of the union claim) described as ‘abject, complete and unnecessary capitulation.’ The agreement, which gave the workers much less than they had asked for, was accepted by the unions on the understanding that the forthcoming talks on ‘raising the status’ of the electricity workers would be to the benefit of the workers. What ‘staff status’ really meant became clear when the shop stewards committee published details of the Electricity Council’s secret proposals in their paper, Power Worker:

‘Proposals to enhance the status of National Joint Industrial Council staff by paying them an annual salary for 42 hours impose on the staff concerned certain obligations to act responsibly. One of these obligations is to accept the normal give-and-take of working arrangements, which is intended to ensure that work in hand is completed without too rigid adherence to finishing time.’ [50]

Spelled out in detail, this meant the virtual abandonment of overtime, acceptance of work study, labour mobility and other measures that amounted to a straightforward speed-up, dressed up in other terms. The ETU finally decided to withdraw from the talks, and to recommend the abandonment of the three-year contract, since the Electricity Council was not willing to extend to the manual workers the same fringe benefits that it gives to its white-collar workers. So much for ‘staff status!’ At present the unions, because of the long-term agreement, are unable to demand more pay, and are therefore limited to asking for extra benefits in the way of holidays, shorter hours and more long-service pay.

6. Conclusions

The advantages of the long-term contract for employers are very considerable, with regard both to the steady continuation of production and to the company’s relations with the unions:

‘Management has turned to long-term contracts primarily in the hope that such contracts will help to “stabilise” their labour relations ... Stability is used most often as a synonym for “labour peace,” ie, freedom from strikes or threats of strikes which are ever present in contract negotiations ... Coupled with the desire for stability is the desire, for predictability of labour costs and an opportunity to plan ahead on investment, production, expansion, and other areas dependent on reasonably stable union-management relations.’ [51]

What this ‘opportunity to plan ahead’ means should now be clear from the experience of the American unions. Far from ‘stabilising’ labour relations – at least in the sense of maintaining an equilibrium – the balance has swung to the employers, who are now in a more powerful position in the US than they have been at any time since the great wave of unionism in the thirties.

Certainly it has been the employers who have been eager to promote long-term contracts (apart from the aberrant British engineering union leaders); indeed they have been so eager that they have been prepared to make concessions to the unions in order to obtain them:

‘The company was sufficiently convinced of the usefulness of the wage-formula approach after two years of trial that it conceded a substantial monetary gain to the union to secure the five-year contract. Although General Motors President Charles E. Wilson previously had expressed strong opposition in principle to compulsory union membership, the 1950 contract provided for a modified union shop.’ [52]

This has been the union’s view too: ‘a long-term agreement is a very substantial union concession and must not be sold cheaply.’ [53]

That the companies have good reason for liking the long-term contract can be seen from the fact that since 1948 there has been not a single company-wide strike in the whole of the US automobile industry. A further advantage resides in the fact that employers do not even have to spend so much time and energy on bargaining:

‘As the opening of negotiations draw near, the company must begin to develop its own bargaining position and must try to anticipate demands from the union. In practice this may mean gathering information on the way the current contract is working out, soliciting proposals for changes, reviewing grievances and arbitration awards, and consulting specialists on a variety of social security issues, such as pensions and health plans ... As negotiations approach the deadline, the cumulative effect of the campaign frequently shows itself in reduced efficiency on the job and possible “spontaneous” short strikes or slowdowns. In a major negotiation the deadline date is often preceded by marathon sessions involving top-level management personnel, after which an agreement is reached, a temporary extension is negotiated, or a strike is called. The actual signing of the agreement does not end the process since the new provisions must be analysed, actions to implement them must be taken, and supervisory personnel must be trained to administer them ... If this process were repeated annually, during a substantial part of each year industrial relations problems would be occupying most of the time of a large part of an organisation, and instability would be chronic.’ [54]

Under the long-term agreement, a management that plans a major offensive against the unions is almost guaranteed three years in which to prepare for the struggle, as happened in the case of the US Steel companies in the period between 1956 and 1959, when there was intensive stock-piling of finished steel, and customers were prepared for the coming strike by warnings to get their orders in early.

Beside these considerable advantages for the employers, the unions have little or nothing to gain from these contracts, and in the long run may have much to lose, although this is generally not perceived by the union leaders who have been and are signing these contracts. The American union leaders have striven to obtain common termination dates for their agreements, in the hope that this will give them greater leverage during negotiations; but these efforts are matched by the unification of the employers that was noted above, and have been largely ineffectual.

Long-term agreements significantly lower the interest and participation of the average union member in his union’s affairs. The granting of the modified union shop to the UAW by General Motors in 1950 was an implicit recognition by the company that the union would not accept a five-year contract without this concession, for its bargaining role in the next five years must of necessity be a passive one. A union that appears to do nothing to further workers’ immediate interests for three or five years is not likely to find it easy to retain the same loyalty that is shown to a union that negotiates every year for increases which may have to be fought for.

‘There has always been a widespread belief that membership interest in union affairs and attendance at union meetings was tied closely to the frequency of contract negotiations. Experience with long-term contracts bears out this expectation.’ [55]

Nor has the advent of long-term agreements led to higher wage-rises, as both employers and unions in the US recognise. [56] And the expressed union reason for the acceptance of the long-term contract – that it would leave the unions ‘free to concentrate in their negotiations for a new agreement on the major objective of increasing their share in the total national product.’ [57] – has been proved, quite simply, to be complete nonsense. If anything, the unions have lost some of the ground they had previously gained.

Control of wages under capitalism, whatever the means employed, is not in the interests of the working class. Quite apart from the arguments put forward above, it must further be added that in essence any attempt under capitalism to control wages cannot be regarded as anything but an attempt to reduce the self-activity of the working class, which is still primarily expressed in terms of the struggle for wages and conditions. The self-activity of the working class is the essential means for the ending of all class society. The only policy for socialists is complete opposition to all forms of wage-control, either at the level of the individual industry or at the level of the state, without full workers’ control at all levels, both political and economic.


1. National Institute Economic Review No.16.

2. The Split Society, N. Davenport, The Spectator 8 November 1963.

3. ‘The cheapening of imports relative to our exports (and 70 per cent of our imports are still food and raw materials) has brought some relief to our balance of payments. One can view what has happened as an annual transfer of real income from the primary producing countries to the British economy of some several million pounds per annum as compared with the mid-1950’s. This was clearly an important factor in the illusory economic euphoria of the late 1950’s (its effects were concentrated in 1958); lower costs contributed to the price plateau of that period.’ The British Economy: Crisis and Structural Change, J. Hughes, New Left Review 21, October 1963: a useful account of some aspects of Tory economic policy.

4. The Observer, 12 January 1964.

5. For an excellent account, see Neo-Corporatists and Neo-Reformers, H. Draper, New Politics, Vol.I No.1, Fall 1961.

6. ‘The TUC leaders, led by Deakin of the Transport and General, Tom Williamson of the General and Municipal, and Will Lawther of the Mineworkers, saw to it that the cautious and moderate policy which they had pursued under the Labour Government was maintained under the Conservatives. Among other things, they ensured that resolutions denouncing all forms of wage restraint – such as were regularly submitted to Congress by the Communist-dominated unions – were voted down by adequate majorities.’ A History of British Trade Unionism, H. Pelling, Penguin, 1963, p.235.

7. An Incomes Policy For Labour, M. Stewart & R. Winsbury, Fabian Tract 350, October 1963, p.18. (See also The Structure and Organisation of British Trade Unions, PEP, 1963.)

8. Ibid., p.27.

9. The Future Of The Unions, W. McCarthy, Fabian Tract 339, September 1962, pp.23-24.

10. Ibid., pp.24-25.

11. Quoted in The Times, 23 September 1963.

12. The Split Society, N. Davenport, The Spectator, 29 November 1963.

13. Pas de politique des revenus sans contrôle ouvrier (’no incomes policy without workers’ control’), E. Mandel, Les Cahiers du Centre d’Etudes Socialistes, Nos.27-29, April-June 1963.

14. Ibid.

15. The Split Society, N. Davenport, The Spectator, 22 November 1963.

16. Post-War Britain and the Common Market, T Balogh, New Left Review 16, August 1962.

17. The Pattern of Collective Bargaining, C. Chivers, in Industrial Relations: Contemporary Problems and Perspectives, ed. B.C. Roberts, Methuen, 1962.

18. For a full account of the effects in one industry, see Regional Variations in Earnings, Demand for Labour and Shop Stewards’ Combine Committees in the British Engineering Industry, S.W. Lerner and J. Marquand, Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies, September 1963.

19. Cmd 2098, 1963, quoted in Ministry of Labour Gazette, August 1963.

20. An Incomes Policy for Labour, p.23.

21. The Economist, 7 September 1963.

22. Looking at Industrial Relations, Engineering and Allied Employers Federation, 1957, p.40. For a full account of this strike, see The Employers’ Challenge, H.A. Clegg & R. Adams, Blackwell, 1957.

23. For the BLSP strike, see the excellent account in The BLSP Dispute: The Story of the Strike, K. Weller, Solidarity pamphlet No.8, n.d.; for Fords, see What’s Wrong At Fords, published by the Ford Joint Shop Stewards Committee, n.d.

24. Wage Policy and Long-Term Contracts, J.W. Garbarino, Brookings Institution, Washington DC 1962, p.2.

25. Walter Reuther: Selected Papers ed. H.M. Christman, Macmillan, New York 1961, p.225.

26. The UAW And Walter Reuther I. Howe & B.J. Widick, Random House, New York 1949, p.109.

27. Wage Policy and Long-Term Contracts, p.26.

28. Ibid., p.81.

29. Evaluation of Long-Term Contracts, J. Stieber, in New Dimensions In Collective Bargaining, ed. H.W. Davey et al., Harper, New York 1959, p.152.

30. Wage Policy and Long-Term Contracts, pp.80-81.

31. Bargaining Strength and Contracts, J.W. Garbarino, Industrial Relations, University of California, October 1961.

32. Management’s ‘New Look’ in Labor Relations, H.R. Northrup, Industrial Relations, October 1961.

33. Prospects for Industrial Conflict, A.M. Ross Industrial Relations, October 1961.

34. American Labor at Dead-End, S. Lens, New Politics, Vol.I No.1, Fall 1961.

35. The Impact of Collective Bargaining on Management, S.H. Slichter et al., Brookings Institution, Washington DC 1960, p.217.

36. Are Coal Strikes National Emergencies?, I. Bernstein, Industrial and Labour Relations Review, April 1953.

37. Management’s ‘New Look’ in Industrial Relations, H.R. Northrup, Ibid.

38. Prospects for Industrial Conflict, A.M. Ross, Ibid.

39. Recent Employer Alliances in Perspective, F.C. Pierson, Industrial Relations, October 1961.

40. While the employment level in US manufacturing fell by eight per cent between 1956 and 1962, average weekly hours and overtime worked remained constant over the same period: Labour News, United States Information Service, October-November 1963, Table 3, p.19.

41. A New Stage in Government-Labor Relations, M. Shute, New Politics, Vol.II No.1, n.d.

42. The Impact of Collective Bargaining on Management, p.254.

43. The Shifting Power-Balance in the Plant, G. Strauss, Industrial Relations, May 1962.

44. Wage Policy and Leng-Term Contracts, pp.30-31.

45. Management’s ‘New Look’ in Industrial Relations, H.R. Northrup, Ibid.

46. The Split Society, N. Davenport, The Spectator, 29 November 1963 (my emphases – CB).

47. The Times, 31 December 1963.

48. The following groups of workers are covered by long-term contracts: building and construction; electrical contracting; domestic engineering; sign and display work; local government officers and local authority manual and building workers; health service workers (not nurses or doctors); electricity supply; gas; printing; coachbuilding; footwear furniture; glass processing; police; artificial limb manufacture and surgical dressings; glazing; monumental masonry; mastic asphalt; cast stone and cast concrete. Long-term contracts are at present under discussion in the Civil Service, engineering and tobacco. In addition an unknown number has been signed at company level in various industries. (As of 20 January 1964.)

49. See Buses and Bosses, Bob Potter, Solidarity, Vol.3 No.2, n.d.

50. Quoted in The Observer, 8 December 1963.

51. Evaluation of Long-Term Contracts, J. Stieber, Ibid., p.140-1.

52. Wage Policy and Long-Term Contracts, p.74.

53. AFL-CIO Collective Bargaining Report, September 1956.

54. Wage Policy and Long-Term Contracts, pp.16-17.

55. Evaluation of Long-Term Agreements, T. Stiebler, Ibid., p.145.

56. Wage Policy and Long-Term Contracts, p.88.

57. Ibid., p.28.

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