The beginning of aircraft production in Britain nearly a century ago provided new settings for capital accumulation. Workers in this developing industry, however, still faced many of the problems associated with authoritarian employers whose power was premised on ownership of the means of production. Technological advance in an age of modernity did not bring with it a new era of harmonious industrial relations. Industrial strife was particularly prevalent between 1910 and 1920 when the wonders of aerial technology were first enthusiastically promoted, particularly by the right-wing press, and then embraced by the government and the armed services to strengthen Britain’s capability to fight a war. For instance, between 1916–18, when the total employed in the aircraft industry underwent a five-fold increase to 268,000 (Edgerton, 1991: 14), widespread industrial action was experienced.
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