The Fifth Estate: Britain's Unions in the Seventies

1st Edition

Robert Taylor

Published November 23, 2018
Reference - 382 Pages
ISBN 9781138334489 - CAT# K393344
Series: Routledge Library Editions: The Labour Movement

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First published in 1978. Britain’s unions were blamed by many people for the country’s post-war economic decline. Portrayed as greedy wreckers who wanted to run the country, they had become scapegoats for the state of the nation. This anatomy of Britain’s diverse and complex trade union movement sets out to question that widespread opinion.

The main argument advanced in the study is that unions in Britain were too weak, not too strong. From the 1940s until the 1970s, Robert Taylor believes, they had failed to achieve the constructive influence over British society that union movements elsewhere in western Europe had managed to gain. Considering the major and medium-sized unions separately, he examines the sudden and rapid growth of unionisation in Britain, the structure of the unions, their effectiveness, the influence they had, their international record, and the nature of trade union democracy.

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