By W. Hamish Fraser
This new background of British alternate unionism bargains the main concise and up to date account of three hundred years of exchange union improvement, from the earliest documented makes an attempt at collective motion by way of operating humans within the eighteenth century via to the very assorted global of `New Unionism' and `New Labour'.
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Extra resources for A History of British Trade Unionism 1700–1998
Eventually the strike Learning the Game 23 was broken, but there were some gains and the yearly bond gradually disappeared to be replaced by a monthly contract. The Association and the county unions then faded away in the sharp depression in the coal trade in 1847-8. The struggles in mining, as in many other industries, were not just about wages, but over the whole pattern of work. Alan Campbell, Fred Reid and others have written of the tradition of the 'independent collier' who saw himself as a free tradesman contracting to produce coal at a pace which suited himself.
The societies like the ASE, the ASCj, the Ironfounders and the Boilermakers, which offered a full range of benefits, were the exception rather than the general rule. It remains highly questionable then how far the ASE can be regarded as a model. None the less, its success and stability inevitably influenced others in due course. Even when a national organisation seemed to have been successfully created, there was always the danger of schism. The very capable general secretary, Charles Williams, could not hold together the National Association of Operative Plasterers formed in 1860.
It dispelled the idea that registration under the Friendly Societies' Act of 1855 ensured protection from dishonest officials and was interpreted as part of a general onslaught on trade unionism. It convinced them of the need to get involved in political action. The immediate concern of Applegarth and the amalgamated unions was to get protection for those unions who, like themselves, were registered under the Friendly Societies' Act. There is little doubt that they saw their interests as different from those of the smaller societies.