chapter  7
104 Pages

The False Start

This chapter opens by recalling that the term 'industrial democracy' was first used by the Webbs in 1897 as the title of their book on the structure and functions of trade unions. The terms of reference specified industrial democracy as an extension of the activities of trade unions into the control of enterprises, other than public sector enterprises, by which the members of those unions were employed. The reality that there are rights of ownership and that they are liable to, and do, conflict with those of labour cannot be exorcised by pretending that they are not there; and it is the exclusion of the public sector from the Committee's purview which admits that reality. The proposals contained in the majority Report of the Committee of Enquiry are not a credible alternative to the promotion of industrial democracy through the extension of an industrial co-operative sector of the economy. By contrast, industrial co-operatives are wholly about industrial democracy.