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Facing Up to ThatcherismThe History of NALGO 1979-93$
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Michael Ironside and Roger Seifert

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240753

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199240753.001.0001

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The Advent of Thatcherism

The Advent of Thatcherism

(p.78) 3 The Advent of Thatcherism
Facing Up to Thatcherism

Mike Ironside

Roger Seifert

Oxford University Press

This chapter starts in early 1979 with the last few months of the Labour government. It includes an account of the strike by social workers during the ‘winter of discontent’, and of the crisis over public-sector pay and incomes policies. Then, it covers the election of the Conservative Party under Mrs. Thatcher in May 1979, followed by the main developments during the early years of the Conservative government. It outlines the government’s drive to ‘squeeze inflation out of the system’ through a combination of cutting public expenditure, weakening union power, and increasing unemployment. It also discusses National and Local Government Officers Association’s (NALGO) responses to these policy initiatives by maintaining a ‘business-as-usual’ approach to industrial relations and collective bargaining in all sectors, illustrated by the 1980 local-government comparability pay dispute. Moreover, the linkage between government policy and monetarist dogma is examined. Furthermore, it describes the impact of these and other forces on the union itself. The emerging tensions: over representativeness; coping with an increasingly fragmented and diverse membership; and facing up to the nature of political opposition to government, are determined.

Keywords:   NALGO, Thatcherism, Labour government, Conservative Party, Thatcher, government policy, monetarist dogma, Advent

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