In Place of Strife

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In Place of Strife (Cmnd 3888)

In Place of Strife (Cmnd 3888) was a UK Government white paper written in 1969.[1] It was a proposed act to use the law to reduce the power of trade unions in the United Kingdom, but was never passed into law.[1] The title of the paper was a reworking of the title of Nye Bevan's book In Place of Fear.

It was proposed by the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity, Barbara Castle.[1] Amongst its numerous proposals were plans to force unions to call a ballot before a strike was held and establishment of an Industrial Board to enforce settlements in industrial disputes. The Labour Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, was divided over the issue.[1] The proposals had been drafted in secret by Wilson and Castle.[2] Divisions quickly appeared within the Cabinet when the proposals were presented, with the opposition led by James Callaghan.[2] A settlement was eventually reached with the Trades Union Congress whereby the proposals were dropped.[1]

Although the paper itself never resulted in legislation, its requirement that strike action could only take place after a trade union ballot would later become a key component of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

A copy of the paper may be downloaded from the National Archives.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Barbara Castle: Labour's red queen". BBC News Online. 3 May 2002. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Jack Straw (28 July 2003). "Socialism's first lady". New Statesman. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "In Place of Strife". The National Archives. Retrieved 17 March 2012.