Transforming the unemployed
Trade union benefits and the advent of state policy
in Labour and working-class lives
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In his early work, Chris Wrigley wrote extensively on the relationship between the Liberal Party and the labour movement in general and on David Lloyd George and the trade unions in particular, notably during the years surrounding the First World War. This chapter revisits this relationship by reviewing the pre-war Liberal governments' well known welfare reforms and their impact on trade union organisation and work. It examines diversity in union support for unemployed members and reviews state intervention as a new form of labour market regulation and as a project of trade union reform. By examining the birth of state-sponsored unemployment insurance in terms of its impact on trade union organisation and practices, the chapter re-establishes links between social welfare and industrial relations that have generally been studied as separate spheres of labour politics. Unions offering unemployment benefits grew from federations of local societies supplying help for their members.

Labour and working-class lives

Essays to celebrate the life and work of Chris Wrigley


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