The British colonial trade union ordinance with a focus on its post-colonial development in Singapore

Leggett, Chris (2000) The British colonial trade union ordinance with a focus on its post-colonial development in Singapore. In: Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Conference of the International Employment Relations Association (2), pp. 517-527. From: Eighth Annual Conference of the International Employment Relations Association, 5 - 8 July 2000, Singapore.

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Abstract

[Extract] It is 200 years since the Combination Acts but still British trade unions did not gain full legal status until the passing of the Trade Union Act, 1871. Even then bills had to be enacted in 1906, 1913 and 1927 to assure the lawfulness of trade unionism. This was the legislation that was in place when the British Colonial Office stepped up its encouragement of trade union ordinances in the territories for which it was responsible. After World War II, some industrial relations researchers foresaw that an inherent logic of industrialism would lead industrialising countries to converge on a future of pluralistic industrialism. Diversity could be explained as residual and due, among other things, to the different orientations of industrialising elites. The observable elites at the time were the 'middle class', 'colonial administrators', 'revolutionary intellectuals', 'nationalist leaders' and 'dynastic leaders'. By the 1970s, convergence theory had been modified by a British researcher substituting Japanese welfare corporatism for pluralistic industrialism as the end of convergence. Taking convergence theory as its frame of reference, this paper traces the progress of British colonial trade union legislation with a focus on its development in Singapore. Singapore's original trade union legislation introduced by colonial administrators has been amended by nationbuilding leaders - at first in their struggle with revolutionary intellectuals, and then to align trade unionism with the imperatives of rapid industrialisation and economic restructuring, culminating in a legal re-definition of trade unions. The paper concludes with an assessment of how far the legal regulation of trade unions in Singapore has moved away from the essentials of the original British legislation.

Item ID: 17140
Item Type: Conference Item (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: industrial relations, trade union act, Singapore
Additional Information:

Employment Relations in the Year 2000: where have we been and where are we going? Eighth Annual Conference of the International Employment Relations Association

ISBN: 978-0-646-41309-9
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2011 07:09
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150306 Industrial Relations @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910401 Industrial Relations @ 100%
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