President, Amalgamated Engineering and Foundry Workers' Union
For differing and often conflicting reasons, all kinds of organizations and individuals are concerning themselves with an examination of the potential of organized workers to demand and achieve a voice in, or eventual control over, their work environment and their industrial destinies. With the rise in social and economic expectations over much of industry, 'Work group sanctions against management have gradually become effective and "management by consent" generally necessary.'l
Of course, this tendency can be grossly exaggerated. Even in well-organized factories with a strong shop stewards' organization, the power of workers is strictly limited and circumscribed. This fact has been exposed with brutal clarity by the wave of giant mergers and takeovers, which have affected so many important sections of the British economy over the past few years. These moves have entailed drastic changes in the country's industrial structure, often with grave repercussions for the labour force concerned.