Industrial relations in the road passenger transport industry-a political-economic analysis.

  • Simon K.O. Read

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis examines the British Bus and Tram Industry from 1889 to 1988. The first determinant of the pattern of industrial relations is the development of the labour-process. The labour process changes with the introduction of new technology (electrified trams and mechanised buses), the concentration and centralisation of ownership, the decline of competition, changing market position, municipal and state regulation, ownership and control. The tram industry, as a consequence of electrification, is almost wholly municipally owned and the history of the labour process from horse-trams to the decline of the industry is examined. The bus industry has a less unified structure and is examined by sector; London, Municipal, and Territorial/Provincial. The small independent sector is largely ignored. The labour process is examined from the horse-bus to the present day. The development of resistance in the labour process is discussed both as a theoretical problematic (the `Braverman Debate') and through the process of unionisation, the centralisation and bureaucratisation of the unions, the development of national bargaining structures (National Joint Industrial Council and the National Council for the Omnibus Industry), and the development of resistance to those processes. This resistance takes either a syndicalist form, or under Communist Party leadership the form of rank and file movements, or simply unofficial organisations of branch officials. The process of centralisation of the unions, bureaucratisation and the institutionalisation of bargaining and the relationship between this process and the role of the Unions in the Labour Party is examined. Neo-corporatism, that is the increasing integration of the leadership of the main Union, the T.G.W.U.with the Labour Party and with the State is discussed. In theoretical terms, this thesis considers the debate around the notion of `labour process', the relationship between labour process and labour politics and between labour process and labour history. These relationships are placed within a discussion of class consciousness.
Date of AwardJan 1989
Original languageEnglish


  • labour process
  • road passenger transport industry
  • bus/train history
  • labour history
  • industrial relations - road passenger transport - Britain

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