As economic conditions picked up towards the end of the 1840s a number of unions were putting in hand changes to make their organisation more effective. But such changes were not easily achieved. Local societies did not like to abandon their independence and branches did not like to lose control over their own funds. It was difficult to persuade workers with grievances of their own to subordinate themselves to the needs of other workers at the other end of the country. Yet, faced with growing signs of employers’ collaboration and, in almost all industries, pressure for change in work patterns, there was a recognition that co-ordination was necessary.
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- The Rise of National Unions, 1850–80
W. Hamish Fraser
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