Employers’ attitude hardening

As might be expected, with world competition becoming more acute in export markets and with Government encouragement to resist demands for higher wages the attitude of employers is hardening.

Thus the Wholesale Clothing Manufacturers’ Association has rejected a claim for another 6d. an hour for 200,000 workers on the plea of “the unsettled state of the trade” (Daily Telegraph 12/8/1952).

Workers on strike at the Fairey Aviation Company’s works, at Stockport, have been out for eight weeks in their strike over the refusal of four inspectors to join a union and over the subsequent dismissal of two shop stewards for holding a meeting on the firm’s premises in working hours without permission. The Company have remained adamant although the strike “has held up production on important Air Ministry contracts for nearly two months . . .” (Manchester Guardian 16/8/1952.)

And it was stated by Mr. Tanner, President of the A.E.U., that before the Employers’ Federation rejected the Engineering and Shipbuilders workers’ wage claim they had carried out a census of all their members asking them not only whether they favoured refusal to grant any increase but also whether, in the event of refusal, they were prepared to face a dispute (News Chronicle 14/8/1952).

Doubtless British workers will have taken note of the success of the American steel-workers’ strike and it remains to be seen whether the British engineering firms with armament orders booming are prepared to face the losses involved in a prolonged hold up.


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