Historical Studies in Industrial Relations

Public-Sector Strikes in the ‘Winter of Discontent’

Historical Studies in Industrial Relations (2015), 36, (1), 219–226.

Abstract

John Shepherd’s chapter on public-sector strikes provides a useful overview of what happened, giving due weight to the plight of both the low-paid manual workers and their trade-union leaders. However, he tends to ignore the sector-by-sector negotiations; he lacks understanding of the politics inside each union; and he ignores the vital role of left groupings (especially the Communist Party) in the strikes. He is over-reliant on accounts by political leaders, with the benefit of hindsight, and fails to appreciate the nature of struggle, in particular the difficulty of striking against the state.

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Author details

Seifert, Roger