The Role of the TUC in Significant Industrial Disputes: An Historical Critical Overview

Ralph Darlington, Stephen Mustchin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Historically the British Trades Union Congress’s (TUC) role in a significant number of major industrial disputes has been subject to both accusations of ‘betrayals’ and ‘sell-outs’ as well as more sympathetic accounts which emphasise the constraints faced by the TUC both in terms of their institutional role and their relationship with constituent unions. Drawing on evidence concerning the role of the TUC in significant disputes including the 1926 General Strike, the strike wave of 1972, 1975–8 Grunwick dispute, the 1978/9 ‘winter of discontent’, the 1984/5 miners’ strike, the 1986–7 News International strike and more recent examples, the paper highlights four constraints on the role of the TUC in relation to major disputes: their political loyalty to the Labour Party; an aversion to defying the law; the avoidance of appearing to challenge state power; and structural constraints to an extent inherent within trade union officialdom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-645
Number of pages19
JournalLabor History
Volume60
Issue number6
Early online date8 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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