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Communist politics and shop stewards in engineering, 1935-46

By Richard Croucher


This thesis is about the activities of Communist militants within the\ud engineering industry between 1935 and 1946, and attempts to show the\ud importance of these militants to the history of industrial relations\ud in this period in which shop stewards as we know them today first\ud emerged as ran important group. The work is primarily concerned with\ud examining the relative importance of political and industrial factors\ud in determining the relationships obtaining between shop stewards and\ud their constituents during World War II.\ud The importance of Communist politics to Communist and non-\ud Communist shop stewards is examined, but the main area of research is\ud into the way in which different local industrial contexts influenced\ud shop stewards' behaviour. The importance of methods of wage payment,\ud local agreements, types of technology and rates of technological change,\ud and a whole range of other industrial considerations was often greater\ud in the minds of even come left-wing shop stewards than the latest left-wing\ud discussions. Also, the way in which shop stewards took up (or failed\ud to take up) the problems arising for their members out of a war in which\ud munitions workers were almost as much in the front line as were\ud servicemen and women themselves is touched upon.\ud The thesis is divided into two main sections. The first\ud group of chapters deals in a general and introductory way with the\ud topics mentioned above. The second and rather more important section\ud builds on the first in that it deals with the problems in a deeper\ud (though necessarily narrower) way. It comprises four local studies of\ud major engineering districts during the period 1939-1946

Topics: DA, HD
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:4081

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