Essay Compare Union Leader

Essay Compare Union Leader-8
Both the older skilled trade unions and the large, enthusiastic new unions provided the mass support for the huge May Day demonstrations of the early 1890s, with 250-300,000 turning out in London alone in 1890-93.British trade unionism, which had been more akin to the less party-political trade unionism of the USA than the political trade unionism of continental Europe, moved decisively towards independent labour representation in Parliament at the end of the 1890s in the face of employers’ offensives against trade unionism and a series of legal decisions, culminating in the Taff Vale judgement 1902, which undercut what the unions believed to be their rights, as established in the trade union legislation in 1871-75.

Both the older skilled trade unions and the large, enthusiastic new unions provided the mass support for the huge May Day demonstrations of the early 1890s, with 250-300,000 turning out in London alone in 1890-93.British trade unionism, which had been more akin to the less party-political trade unionism of the USA than the political trade unionism of continental Europe, moved decisively towards independent labour representation in Parliament at the end of the 1890s in the face of employers’ offensives against trade unionism and a series of legal decisions, culminating in the Taff Vale judgement 1902, which undercut what the unions believed to be their rights, as established in the trade union legislation in 1871-75.

By the late nineteenth century trade unionism was strong among skilled workers, was established in some counties with mining and, with the of 1888-90, trade unionism flourished among the unskilled (before weakening substantially by the mid-1890s).

In contrast with Germany where the SPD was huge before trade unionism expanded rapidly in the later 1890s, in Britain the socialists were small in number and fragmented, dwarfed by the trade unions [see Table 1].

The Independent Labour Party (ILP), founded in Bradford in 1893 and the largest of the late nineteenth century socialist bodies (with 10,720 paid-up members in 1894-5), was much closer to trade unionism than the SDF.

Nevertheless, a few of its leading figures, most notably Philip Snowden (1894-1937), who was to be Chancellor of the Exchequer in the first two Labour governments (19-31), were famously often hostile to the trade unions.

Although seven of the 29 MPs were ILP sponsored, many more were also ILP members as well as trade unionists. In the final vote for the first chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party Keir Hardie beat David Shackleton by one vote.

The post rotated and after Hardie, 1906-8, the next two chairmen were trade unionists, Arthur Henderson, 1909-10 and George Barnes (1859-1940), 1910-11, before James Ramsay Mac Donald, 1911-14.While some trade unionist MPs were also ILP members, others were anti-socialist.In the case of Arthur Henderson, when, as Secretary of the Labour Party (1912-34), he was the UK link with the Second International and it was felt to be diplomatic for him to be a member of a socialist society, it was notable that in 1912 he joined not the ILP but the very moderate Fabian Society.The SDF affiliated but withdrew after one year, the co-operative movement, which in most areas remained Liberal until the First World War, did not affiliate More than that, the Taff Vale Judgement of 1901, which awarded huge damages and legal costs against the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS) and thereby set a legal precedent which undercut unions’ abilities to conduct strikes, encouraged most major trade unions to affiliate to the LRC to secure legislation to undo this legal verdict.By 1904 all the major unions had affiliated to the TUC except most of the coal miners, who did so in 1909.The MPs elected in the general elections of 1906, January 1910 and December 1910 were overwhelmingly working class, with 23 of all 29 of 1906 being working class and 23 of these being manual worker trade unionists.Yet, the impact of the ILP was disproportionate in the pre-1914 Parliamentary Labour Party to its membership, which ran at around 2 per cent of the trade union affiliates to the Labour Party (see Table 1B). Clynes (1869-1949), who was to be Food Controller in 1918 in David Lloyd George’s wartime coalition government.The LRC won two seats in the 1900 general election and three further seats in by-elections.In the 1906 general election 29 of its 50 candidates were elected, with the numbers of successful candidates going up in the January 1910 (40 of 78) and the December 1910 (40 of 56) after the mining unions had affiliated.In the second half of the nineteenth century most British trade union leaders were Liberal Party supporters while most trade unionists voted Liberal, but in Lancashire, Birmingham and elsewhere many voted Conservative.In the mid to late 1880s a younger generation of trade union leaders – such as James Keir Hardie and Robert Smillie (1857-1940), both Scottish coal-miners, Tom Mann (1856-1941), and John Burns (1858-1943), both engineers, and Ben Tillett (1860-1946), a general labourer – were socialists and were involved in organising the unskilled workers in such sectors as gasworks, docks and shipping as well as in rebuilding coal mining trade unionism, which had crumbled in some parts of Britain.

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