The TUC Library will be closed from midday on Friday 23rd December 2016 and will re-open at 9am on Tuesday 3rd January 2017.
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our users and supporters.
Following on from our previous post that mentioned the recent debate about workers on company boards, we thought we would turn the spotlight on the material in the TUC Library on the subject of industrial democracy.
From the period of the establishment of the TUC in the late 19th century, the issue of workers’ representation and control over their work process has been a central demand of the labour movement. The developments of “new unionism“, anarcho-syndicalism, workers’ cooperatives, and guild socialism, were all hotly debated in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Following the Second World War the TUC attempted to influence the economic reconstruction and industrial relations environment by lobbying for more workplace democracy, planning and co-determination (as can be seen in this document here), a structure that became the model in Continental economies such as Germany.
By the 1960s and 1970s this model was coming under strain in the UK, exemplified by the document In Place of Strife issued by the Wilson Government and the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations (known as the Donovan Commission) in 1968. Continued industrial strife in the 1970s led to the 1977 Report of the Committee of Inquiry on Industrial Democracy, chaired by Lord Bullock, a report that recommended radical reforms to company board structures to embed employee representation. The recommendations were never enacted, however. The TUC Library contains not only the Report itself but a wide variety of publications and commentary from the period. The TUC continued to lobby for increased workplace democracy into the 1980s and 1990s.
The TUC continues to produce material on the subject and published a number of reports in recent years, prior to the government of Theresa May putting the issue back on the public agenda. You can view online versions of the publications shown below here, here, here and here.
For more information about this topic, or any of the items featured, get in touch.
Following our recent participation in the Senate House Libraries & Research History Day, we discovered a fascinating project by the library of the Wellcome Trust to catalogue the archives of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations.
The Tavistock Institute was founded in 1946 and studies organisational behaviour, workplace relations and management psychology. Their archive collections therefore share a great deal in common with those of the TUC Library.
You can follow the progress of the project at http://tihr-archive.tavinstitute.org/
The TUC Library holds a number of publications from the Tavistock Institute, including some of their annual reports and a run of their journal Human Relations.
There are also one-off publications such as this statement of the Institute’s aims and organization.
There are also publications with a more topical relevance, such as this report from 1970 into the issue of workers’ participation on management boards (from a case study of British Rail employees):
For more information about what the TUC Library holds from the Tavistock Institute, or any of the wider subjects such as workplace relations and psychology, get in touch.