Chapter

The impact of machinery: outfitters

Alastair J. Reid

in The Tide of Democracy

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780719081033
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702949 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719081033.003.0006
The impact of machinery: outfitters

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This chapter explores on the impact of machinery on traditional skills in the shipbuilding industry. It shows that while the general pattern to be observed among the craftsmen in shipbuilding and marine engineering was one of strong trade unions able to use their members' indispensable position in production to mount a vigorous defence of their working conditions during more or less intensive waves of mechanisation, the ironmoulders provide an interesting contrast. For, though they were equally highly skilled and indispensable within their sphere of production, they were unable before the First World War to construct an effective national trade union, and as a result had to put up with lower pay and extremely unhealthy working conditions. The painters provide an interesting parallel with the ironmoulders: starting out from a lower level of skill, they too were unable to construct an effective national trade union before 1914, and as a result had to put up with lower pay and extremely unhealthy working conditions.

Keywords: shipbuilding; machinery; engineering works; marine engineering; trade unions; ironmoulders; painters

Chapter.  12345 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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