National Dock Labour Board
Creation of National Dock Labour Board
In 1947, Parliament introduced the "Dock Workers’ (Regulation of Employment) Scheme". The scheme was administered by the National Dock Labour Board, and by local boards, made up of equal numbers of "persons representing dock workers in the port and of persons representing the employers of such dockworkers", the Scheme was financed by a levy on the employers. Each local board was responsible for keeping a register of employers and workers, paying wages and attendance money, controlling the hiring of labour, and responsibility for discipline.
Reasons for creation
The scheme was introduced by the Labour government in response to the Dock Strike of 1945. The strike was a rank-and-file protest for an increase in basic pay, and was not officially supported by the Transport and General Workers Union. The strikers were condemned as 'unpatriotic' by Arthur Deakin, General Secretary of the T&G. The government used troops to keep the ports open, and the strike ended after six weeks when the striking dockers accepted an assurance from the T&G leaders that they would negotiate a 'Docker's Charter' with the government.
Abolition of the National Dock Labour Board
The National Dock Labour Scheme was abolished in 1989 by the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher. The then Employment Secretary, Norman Fowler, told MPs the scheme had become 'a total anachronism' that stood in the way of a modern and efficient ports industry.
Notable members of the National Dock Labour Board included Jack Dash.
- Registered files relating to the administration of the business of the National Dock Labour Board (NDLB) - nationalarchives.gov.uk
- National Dock Labour Board: Photographs 1953-1963 - nationalarchives.gov.uk
- Statistics and circulars relating to all 20 local Docks Labour Boards in ports around Britain are held at Special Collections and Archives, Cardiff University.
- Account of how the board was abolished and why it mattered to do so. Iain Dale: 27 Years Ago Today the Dock Labour Scheme Was Abolished - And Here's How I Helped It Happen