Power and Influence in the TUC: a Quest for Control

  • David Winchester


The history of trade unionism in Britain illustrates a changing balance between narrow, sectional interests and a broader conception of solidarity and common purpose. This is reflected in the changing structure and organisation of trade unions — in the development of national unions, federations and central organisation from the local associations of skilled workers which provided the basis of trade unionism in the mid-nineteenth century. It can be seen in the shifting emphasis placed on short-term occupational interests compared with political objectives — in the priority accorded to political activity within the Labour Party and elsewhere in relation to industrial methods developed by trade unions to pursue their aims. The locus and distribution of power within the British trade union movement, above all, indicates a pragmatic response to its changing economic and political environment. In particular, it is a reaction to the degree and nature of government intervention in industry and the economy.


Trade Union Social Contract Collective Bargaining Industrial Relation Union Leader 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    L. Panitch, Social Democracy and Industrial Militancy (Cambridge University Press, 1976) p. 26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 4.
    H. A. Clegg, The System of Industrial Relations in Great Britain ( Oxford: Blackwell, 1972 ) p. 399.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    L. Murray, Trade Unions and the State: 1964 to 1990 in Retrospect, Fourth Marlow (Scotland) Lecture, 6 October 1970.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    See E. Silver, Victor Feather, TUC (Gollancz, 1973 ) pp. 172–9.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    J. Hughes, The TUC: A Plan for the 1970’s (Fabian Tract 397, 1969 ) p. 3.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    TUC General Council, Collective Bargaining and the Social Contract (June 1974) para. 12.Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    TUC General Council, The Development of the Social Contract (July 1975) para. 91.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Winchester

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations