The 1912 Strike: Origins and Aftermath

  • John Lovell


The sources of future trouble in the port centred upon the two oldest organisations—the Stevedores and Lightermen. This was not an accident. When old organisations expand into new sectors of employment, they bring with them a whole series of problems. This is because they have fixed standards to maintain, and are consequently subject to considerable pressures both from within and without. Their older members will be fearful lest new recruits compromise hard-won gains, and employers will resist the intrusion into their domain of unions whose standards are high and conditions precise. So it was with the Stevedores and Lightermen, and the former organisation in particular suffered from its need to impose fixed standards.


Industrial Relation Shipping Company Union Preference General Strike Port Worker 
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  1. 9.
    See Gosling’s description of the incident in Report upon the Present Disputes (1912), Cd 6229, pp. 18–19. For Leach’s own version of the affair see ibid. pp. 42–3.Google Scholar
  2. 70.
    For the relationship of the Dockers’ Union with the P.L.A. see evidence of Harry Orbell in Industrial Council — Enquiry into Industrial Agreements (1913), Cd 6953, Evidence, Qs 366–487.Google Scholar
  3. 76.
    Lord (G. R.) Askwith, Industrial Problems and Disputes (1920). For a description of the strike see also Watney and Little, Industrial Warfare, pp. 90–6. Another account of the stoppage is to be found in Harry Gosling, Up and Down Stream (1927) pp. 158–66.Google Scholar
  4. 114.
    For an excellent study of the British waterfront in the early post-war years see E. C. P. Lascelles and S. S. Bullock, Dock Labour and Decasualisation (1924).Google Scholar
  5. 121.
    A loose federal organisation formed in 1908. See H. A. Clegg, A. Fox and A. F. Thompson, A History of British Trade Unions since 1889, vol. 1 (Oxford, 1964) p. 450.Google Scholar
  6. 127.
    Alan Bullock, The Life and Times of Ernest Bevin (1960) p. 590.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. C. Lovell 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Lovell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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