Sunday 21 January 2018

Same challenges today as before 1913

Jim Larkin addresses Dubliners in 1913.
Jim Larkin addresses Dubliners in 1913.

Edward Mahon has an interesting take on the 1913 Lockout and the 1906 Trades Dispute Act. He is of course right in pointing out that an employer can make an ex parte application against workers or their unions during a dispute, but in reality this is relatively rare in historic terms. When it does occur, it is frequently and successfully challenged by trade unions.

The most important provision of the 1906 Act was that it lifted the threat of unions and individual workers being sued for damages if they undertook industrial action at all.

The government of the day did not introduce this legislation out of the goodness of its heart, but because the campaign to protect workers from anti-trade union laws, and the courts, had led to the foundation of the British Labour Party. This threatened the political hegemony of the ruling Liberal Party.

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