Historical Studies in Industrial Relations

The Trade Disputes Bills of 1903: Sir Charles Dilke and Charles Percy Sanger

Historical Studies in Industrial Relations (2015), 36, (1), 159–180.

Abstract

No paper trail exists in The National Archives to cast light as to how the Trade Disputes Act (TDA) 1906 emerged in its final form. The succession of private members’ bills, many sponsored by the Trades Union Congress, and the Liberal government’s bill, and associated parliamentary debates, are very useful but the process of negotiation within Parliament that produced the finished statute is obscure. The reports of the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Congress are a valuable source, but they are cryptic at times. The documents published here for the first time thus have an importance that belies their brevity in that they provide evidence of Sir Charles Dilke’s position in 1903 on the reform of trade-union law, which came to fruition with the TDA, his radicalism, and that Labour MPs were too modest in their ambitions.

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Smith, Paul