Ben Turner, a leader of the wool textile workers, was chairman of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress in 1928. Ever since the end of the General Strike, the General Council had been considering whether it might not now be desirable to establish some machinery for joint consultation about the more general problems of industry between the representative employers' organisations and the representatives of the trade unions.
Hints, inspired by Citrine, and developed by George Hicks at the 1927 Congress, met with no response from the F.B.I. and the National Confederation of Employers' Organisations. But, shortly afterwards, the General Council received a constructive letter signed jointly by Sir Alfred Mond and a number of other eminent industrialists.
Sir Alfred Mond, Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries. His letter to the General Council extended an invitation to a conference at which the whole field of industrial reorganisation and industrial relations could be reviewed. "We realise", he wrote, "that industrial reorganisation can only be undertaken with the co‑operation of those empowered to speak for organised labour. . . We believe that the common interests which bind us are more powerful than the apparently divergent interests that separate."
At the first session of the "Mond-Turner Talks"‑as they came to be called‑Mond indicated the kind of thing that he and his fellow employers would like to discuss. The proposed subjects included rationalisation and amalgamation; housing, health and unemployment insurance; education and industry; works councils; security and status of the workers; financial participation by the workers; investigation into the causes of disputes; and the creation of a permanent standing committee.
"Mondism" was soon denounced by the Communists as a flagrant example of class collaboration. It was also attacked, unavailingly, at the 1928 Trades Union Congress by A. J. Cook. No concrete results stemmed from the Mond‑Turner talks; but the experience of them influenced the thinking of TUC leaders for years to come.
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