AFTER the shattering defeat of the political wing of the labour Movement in the 1931 election, Citrine took steps to secure representation for the TUC General Council in the co ordinating body known as the National Joint Council, equal to that of the Labour Party National Executive and the Parliamentary Labour Party combined; and he affirmed the right of the General Council to "initiate and participate in any political matter which it deems to be of direct concern to its constituents." (As a result of the Bevin inspired reorganisation and redevelopment of the "Daily Herald", the TUC was already entitled to nominate four out of the nine directors of Labour's only national newspaper.)
Citrine also initiated and guided the General Council's Report on Trade Unions and the Control of Industry, which was presented to the 1932 Congress at Newcastle. This general report, and the succession of particular policy statements which in due course stemmed from it, did much of the spadework for any future Labour Government which might be looking for a blue print for socialisation or other forms of public control.
The report itself examined the various reasons for which it would be desirable to bring an industry or service under public control; the various methods by which such control could be exercised; and the alternative ways of compensating former shareholders.
At the 1932 Congress, the report was well received except for the section dealing with the representation of the trade unions on the controlling bodies or Boards of the socialised industries.
This section suggested "that members of such a Board should in all cases be appointed by the Government, and should consist neither of technical experts nor of representatives of particular interests, but of persons appointed solely for their ability to fill the position. Any of the persons appointed might be chosen from the business world, the Trade Union Movement, the financial world, public administration and so on, but not as representatives of such sectional interests".
A final decision was deferred until the Brighton Congress of 1933. Meanwhile, answers to a questionnaire circulated to affiliated trade unions showed a majority in favour of the trade unions having the right to nominate persons for appointment to the controlling Boards of socialised undertakings.
After discussion between a committee of the General Council and a committee of the Labour Party executive, a joint statement was drawn up for submission to Congress and to the Labour Party Conference.
The statement read in part:
At the Brighton Congress of 1933, this joint statement was adopted.
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printed 25 May 2013 at 22:19 hrs by 18.104.22.168