The Problems of Liberalism
By 1963 the Conservative Party was in an ambivalent state with regard to its commitment to voluntary collectivism. This was reflected in the Contracts of Employment Act, the last attempt by a Conservative Government before 1970 to deal with the problems of industrial relations. It showed in particular in the provisions denying the benefits of the legislation to unconstitutional strikers. The party had not resolved its ambivalence by the time of the October 1964 general election: during the campaign it pledged itself to no more than a short enquiry into the implications of the Rookes v. Barnard decision.1 But after the Conservative defeat events moved quickly: nine months after the election the party leadership had privately committed itself to fundamental changes in policy, and in September 1965 the commitment was made public in a policy document, Putting Britain Right Ahead. Though later altered and extended, the industrial relations policies outlined in this document laid the foundations of the Industrial Relations Act. It contained three key proposals: the setting up of a powerful Registrar to regulate the internal affairs of unions; legal enforceability of certain sorts of collective agreements; and ‘a range of industrial courts’ to hear claims on a wide range of disputes covering dismissals, disputes between unions and appeals against the decisions of the Registrar.
KeywordsCollective Bargaining Industrial Relation Collective Agreement Party Leadership Conservative Party
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- 1.David Butler and Anthony King, The British General Election of 1964, (London: Macmillan, 1965) p. 136Google Scholar
- 5.Charles Fletcher-Cooke, ‘Trade Unionism and Liberty’, in Liberty in the Modern State, (London: Conservative Political Centre, 1957) pp. 69–76Google Scholar
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- 17.Leaked in James Margach, ‘Tory new deal for workers’, Sunday Times, 20 April 1962Google Scholar
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- Alan Watkins, ‘The Policy Makers’, Spectator, 2 April 1965Google Scholar
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- 32.For a general discussion of the period see Stephen Young and A. V. Lowe, Intervention in the Mixed Economy, (London: Croom Helm, 1974)Google Scholar
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