Women and militancy in the munitions industries, 1935-45

Croucher, Richard (1979) Women and militancy in the munitions industries, 1935-45. Society for the study of labour history bulletin, 38 . pp. 8-9. ISSN 0961-5652

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The article discusses the status of women workers and the labor movement in the munitions industry in Great Britain from 1935-1945. Until the mid-1930s, trade unionism generally was weak among men and even weaker among women in engineering, but the growing government demand for arms from the early 1930s onwards provided the conditions for a partial revival of workplace representation. On the whole however, the semi- and unskilled stayed on the fringe of these developments. They were quite capable of erupting into militant strike action, but the general unions remained relatively weak. Trade union membership gradually edged upwards amongst these workers, but by 1940, female union members comprised only 6% of female engineering workers, who themselves amounted to one in ten of the engineering workforce. During the war, full employment made the shop stewards much stronger, and the unions started seriously to try to enforce the 'rate for the job' for the women who were coming into the industry as 'dilutees' in ever-increasing numbers.

Item Type:Article
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Journal now called: Labour history review.

Research Areas:A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Employment Relations group
A. > Business School
ID Code:8065
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Deposited On:10 Aug 2011 13:41
Last Modified:10 Mar 2015 16:43

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