Date(s) - 31 Jan
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


Recording of the event: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/2LeFM4chV8zGPu8SG49DC9pegYBtXXUT-K6m_67L8nbYLW-K3PndePdoNmg1trfG.V3LKQMFvSKME3UfL Passcode: r+dqj5U%

Wed, 31 Jan 2024 17:00 – 19:00 GMT

This seminar will be conducted through Zoom – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84572451229?pwd=MnU2Q1Y2RWxQQ1ZGL1VLYThvUmx4UT09

For further details or to reserve a place, please email Michael Gold (m.gold@rhul.ac.uk) or Linda Clarke (clarkel@westminster.ac.uk)


5-5.10pm Welcome: Michael Gold and Linda Clarke (Chairs)

5.10-5.40pm Ralph Darlington Labour Revolt in Britain 1910-14

The ‘Labour Revolt’ that swept Britain between 1910-14 was one of the most sustained, dramatic and violent explosions of industrial militancy and social conflict the country has ever experienced. It was a revolt dominated by unskilled and semi-skilled workers, many acting independently of national trade-union officials. It led to widespread solidarity action, phenomenal union membership growth, breakthroughs in both industrial unionism and female union organisation, and a dramatic increase in the collective power of the working-class movement, including a process of political radicalisation that directly challenged the Liberal government. With new archival research and fresh insights, and combining history from below and above, this paper provides a multi-dimensional portrayal of the context, causes, actors, dynamics and significance of the Labour Revolt.

5.40-6.10pm Raquel Varela Economic Crises and StrikesHistorical Trends in the Last Century in Europe

Are there more strikes in times of economic crisis? Is there a relationship between reactionary social policies and loss of rights on the one hand and social struggles and strikes on the other? Or are there more strikes in periods of economic growth and workforce shortages? This presentation analyses these hypotheses based on a number of major crisis events of the last century, including the Wall Street Crash (1929), the oil crises (1970s) and the global financial (subprime) crisis (2008). It will use the categories of multiple determination and uneven and combined development to propose some research hypotheses and preliminary conclusions for debate.

6.10-7pm General discussion

7pm Close


Ralph Darlington: Is Emeritus Professor of Employment Relations at Salford University, Fellow and Honorary Member of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association, and executive board member of the International Association of Strikes and Social Conflicts journal Workers of the World. He is the author of a number of books, including Radical Unionism: The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary SyndicalismGlorious Summer: Class Struggle in Britain 1972 (with Dave Lyddon), and Labour Revolt in Britain 1910-14.

Raquel Varela: Is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She is a global labour historian and currently occupies several roles: President of the Observatory for Living and Working Conditions, Co-ordinator of Social Data/ Nova4Globe and Researcher in the Research Group History, Territory and Communities CEF/UC/Polo FCSH as well as at the Center for Global Studies in the Universidade Aberta (Open University). She is author of A People’s History of Europe. From World War One to Today (2021) and A People’s History of the Portuguese Revolution (2018) (both Pluto Press).


This is a study group of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA), organising regular seminars on important issues concerning industrial relations in the UK and internationally. The seminars provide an opportunity to air and discuss these in an open forum and consider their implications. Anyone interested is welcome to attend.