The Draughtsmen's and Allied Technicians' Association, 1958-70: An economic analysis

Smith, Peter Brian (1979) The Draughtsmen's and Allied Technicians' Association, 1958-70: An economic analysis. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to explore, with reference to the phenomenon of wage militancy, the relationships between a national union leadership, the membership of that union and the influence within it of radical or revolutionary politics. The method chosen to explore these relationships is that of a historical study of a noted 'leftwing' union, the Technical, Administrative and Supervisory Section of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, formerly the Draughtsmen's and Allied Technicians' Association. The historical material is drawn, in the main, from published union sources such as the shorthand transcripts of the annual policy-making conference and the monthly union journal. Certain questions are posed with respect to the role of revolutionary politics in the development of the union, e.g. what circumstances allowed the union to promote and sustain a 'leftwing' leadership in the 1950s when almost all other 'leftwing' national leaderships were eroded? In answering these questions, attention is concentrated on what are seen as central issues - the development of the union's wages and industrial policies and practices and its responses to incomes policy and industrial relations legislation, particularly for the decade of the 1960s. The material thereby generated, and the conclusions drawn on the questions specific to the case-study union, are used to explore the more general relationships between wage militancy and revolutionary politics by way of a review and analysis of three areas of controversy in academic industrial relations literature, the 'blue-collar/white-collar' debate, the 'pluralist/marxist' debate and the 'Ross/Dunlop trade union wage policy' debate. The conclusions drawn on the general relationships are somewhat tentative. It is suggested that the 'blue-collar/white-collar' debate as it is usually rehearsed in the literature is not helpful in explaining the case-study union's experience, in particular that the definition of class consciousness used by the major theorists is of limited usefulness and differs sharply from that adopted by the union's leadership, class consciousness being held by the latter to be the primary aim of their trade unionism. On the 'pluralist/marxist' debate, attention is drawn to a convergence between one school of marxist thought and certain pluralist hypotheses. On the basis of certain features of the development of the case-study union it is argued that the classical marxist postulates rather than those of the convergence school have greater empirical support. With respect to the 'Ross/Dunlop' debate both sides offer insights into the formation of trade union wage policy but it is suggested that neither fit completely the wage aims of the case-study union. Finally, and included as an Appendix, is a preliminary statistical analysis of a time-series of wage rates pertaining to the union's membership which allows the inferences that both aggregate demand and trade union pushfulness are causal factors in the wages paid to this union's membership.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Labor economics, Labor relations
Date of Award: 1979
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1979-72258
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2019 15:12
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72258

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