By Henry Pelling
The writer leads the reader via a narrative of fight and improvement masking 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 strong personalities similar to Robert Applegarth, Henry Broadhurst, Tom Mann, Ernest Bevin and Walter Citrine have helped to form the trend of present-day unionism, and for this version he has additional a bankruptcy "On the protective: the 1980s". the writer additionally wrote "The Origins of the Labour Party".
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Extra info for A History of British Trade Unionism
Molesting' or 'obstructing' persons at work was forbidden, and the definition of the purposes of legal combination was narrowed to questions of wages and hours of labour - thus excluding such matters as the proportion of apprentices to journeymen. All the same it was still practicable for combinations to exist completely in the open, and so it could be said that the main principle of the 1824 Act was maintained. As Peel himself put it : Men who . . have no property except their manual skill and strength, ought to be allowed to confer together, if they think fit, for the purpose of determining at what rate they will sell their property.
Although London was only part of the whole country, it contained a large proportion of existing unionism, and was also the headquarters of a number of the national unions. The full-time secretaries of the latter formed a group which dominated the London Trades Council in its early days, and could claim in some sense at least to be representative of national union opinion.
This led to bitter reactions among the strikers, but their leaders constantly appealed for the maintenance of order, and few disturbances took place. In March the strike was already failing when the masters persuaded the local magistrates to arrest the strike leaders on charges of 'molesting and obstructing' some of the imported labourers, whom they had persuaded to return The Emergence of Trade Unionism PT. I to their homes. In May the strike finally collapsed, and the charges which were due to be heard at the autumn sessions were dropped.
A History of British Trade Unionism by Henry Pelling