Socially useful production in the defence industry: the Lucas Aerospace combine committee and the Labour government, 1974–1979

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Abstract

In the late 1960s, a workers’ movement at Lucas Aerospace was formed and proposed alternative products other than military production. Reacting to some 5000 redundancies in the company across its 13 sites nationally, a ‘combine’ committee of shop-stewards and workers accused the company management of lobbying for defence orders ahead of civilian manufacturing. Despite acclaim for the combine from the left-wing of the Labour Party and the disarmament movement, the 1974–1979 Labour Government did not favour the workers’ proposals and referred the combine to the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions. Behind the scenes, Labour ministers at the Department of Industry felt that the combine would upset the balance of the defence industry, which was at that time an important contributor to employment and the balance of payments, as well as Britain’s military role in the Cold War.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberVolume 31, 2017 - Issue 4
Pages (from-to)524-545
JournalContemporary British History
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2017

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