Labour History Review

War and Industry: A Study of the Industrial Relations in the Mining Regions of South Wales and the Ruhr During the Great War, 1914-1918

Labour History Review (2003), 68, (2), 195–215.

Abstract

This article examines the formation of industrial relations systems in the coal mining industries of South Wales and the Ruhr during the First World War. While much research has been done on industrial relations in a national context, there are relatively few pieces of comparative work, despite the fact that the war resulted in similar pressures for economic mobilization being exerted on both British and German societies. The article places industrial relations within a comparative framework; its underlying question concerning the form industrial relations took. Individualizing in nature, this comparison aims at placing industrial relations within an international context and sharpening understanding of what was truly unique about the two regions.

Although the war forms the main focus of the article due consideration must by given to the developments of the pre-war period. To a certain extent these developments pre-conditioned the actions of unions, employers and the state during the war. The article, therefore, focuses on the inter-related themes of unionization and recognition in the pre-war period in order to shed light on subsequent events.

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James, Leighton