Labour History Review

White-Collar Workers and Industrial Militancy: The Formation of the ACTSS 6/567 Branch at the Port of Liverpool

Labour History Review (2016), 81, (1), 49–75.

Abstract

This article charts the evolution of clerical worker organization in the quayside offices of the Port of Liverpool. Although considerable academic research has been undertaken into Registered Dock Worker (RDW) trade unionism in the British dock industry, little emphasis has been placed on the dynamics of clerical staff organization despite these workers constituting a significant proportion of the dock labour force.1 What follows explores the growth of the Association of Clerical, Technical and Supervisory Staffs (ACTSS) 6/567 Branch in its developmental stage between 1964 and 1972 and the organizational difficulties it was initially faced with. The confrontational stance gradually adopted by the Branch and its stewards is placed in the context of the threat of redundancy and erosion of manning levels arising from the extensive rationalization and modernization of the British and local dock industry more broadly. Furthermore, their relationship with management and RDW colleagues is central to a proper analysis of the complexities of labour relations at the Port of Liverpool during this period. The attitudes and activism of clerical workers at the port is compared and contrasted with established theories of white-collar unionism throughout the article.

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Author details

Taylor, Greig