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By Peter Dorey

Peter Dorey examines the attitudes and guidelines of the Conservative celebration in the direction of the exchange unions from the 19th century onwards. He hyperlinks those to wider political and monetary conditions, and reviews the main personalities involved.There has continuously been war of words in the Conservative occasion as to the way it should still care for the exchange unions. those disagreements have, largely, mirrored divisions inside British Conservatism itself.

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New PDF release: The Conservative Party and the Trade Unions

Peter Dorey examines the attitudes and regulations of the Conservative social gathering in the direction of the alternate unions from the 19th century onwards. He hyperlinks those to wider political and fiscal conditions, and reports the foremost personalities concerned. There has continuously been war of words in the Conservative occasion as to the way it may still care for the exchange unions.

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As Harold Macmillan was later to comment, the Conservative Party was much divided. The only point upon which there was agreement was that there had to be a Bill of some kind (Macmillan 1966:225). For some Conservatives, a limited Bill, confining itself to the outlawing of general strikes, would have sufficed. ) Other Conservatives desired a more comprehensive policy of legal restraint, in the guise of a Bill dealing with a whole range of trade union activities. This was the approach favoured by Conservatives such as Lord Birkenhead, who insisted that whilst it might result in a very bitter parliamentary session and cause ‘a great row’, such a Bill would be correct.

The Conservative Party and the Trade Unions 38 TURNING TO INCOMES POLICY AND TRIPARTISM The first full step towards finding such a remedy took the form of a ‘pay pause’, announced by the Chancellor, Selwyn Lloyd, in July 1961. It was intended to remain in force until April 1962, thereby providing the government with ‘a breathing space’, during which a more permanent wages policy could be formulated. Macmillan was determined to avoid a policy which involved further deflation, as favoured by the Treasury, the Bank of England, and some backbench neo-liberals.

First, the parliamentary leadership was eager to shake off its image, acquired during the inter-war period, of being ‘anti-trade union’ or ‘anti-working class’. Nothing would have been more damaging to the Conservative Party’s attempt at building bridges than introducing legislation to regulate the activities and affairs of the trade unions. By avoiding trade union legislation, the Conservatives’ parliamentary leadership hoped to gain the trust and confidence of the trade union movement. Second, the Conservative Party was compelled to accept that the Labour Party was now a major political and electoral force, enjoying substantial working-class support.

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