Historical Studies in Industrial Relations

The Industrial Relations of In Place of Strife (1969): The Search for Sanctions through the Prism of Key Industrial Disputes

Historical Studies in Industrial Relations (2021), 42, (1), 145–178.

Abstract

The 1969 White Paper In Place of Strife was the Labour government’s response to the 1968 Donovan Report. Its most contested proposals were three penal clauses, where fines could be imposed: against unions for refusing to ballot in certain official strikes or if they struck against a ruling in inter-union recognition disputes; and against workers for refusing to return to work when a ‘conciliation pause’ was ordered in certain unconstitutional strikes (in breach of a disputes procedure).

Peter Dorey’s political account Comrades in Conflict (2019) provides an opportunity to explore the industrial relations aspects of the White Paper. First, the proposed sanctions are explored in an analysis of the Donovan Report and government discussions. Second, key industrial disputes, which shaped the White Paper and the decision to present an interim bill, are examined. Third, the impracticability of fines on unconstitutional strikers prompted the exploration of legislative alternatives. The opposition of the Trades Union Congress is assessed.

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Author details

Lyddon, Dave