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Industrial relations and race: A case study of the catering workers' struggle for parity at Heathrow (Volume 1)

Carey, M. (1990). Industrial relations and race: A case study of the catering workers' struggle for parity at Heathrow (Volume 1). (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This case study provides a historical account of the industrial struggles of British Airways (South Side) catering workers initially against their own trade union and finally against their employer. The account focuses upon a period from the early 1950s to the early 1990s. The three main sources of data are; oral history, industrial relations documentation and media coverage of events.

The majority of the catering workers were Black workers therefore central to this study is a consideration of the dynamics of racism in an industrial context. It has been necessary then to examine racism in relation to class, trade union theory and practice and issues of discrimination. The study clearly demonstrates the dynamic nature of racism and the danger of reducing all forms of analysis to intentional forces.

This thesis argues that racism and cultures are complex and multi dimensional forces. Both are used as mechanisms for oppression, but also at times both operate as mechanisms for combating oppression. It is also argued that a real understanding of discrimination needs to make a distinction between intentional and unintentional forms of practice and action; that reductionist models of class or "race" fail to acknowledge the potential for different groups to make intervention to historical process; and finally that struggles take place in different arenas. Such struggles often have an unintentional and important consequence for other workers.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Carey thesis 1990 Vol 1 PDF-A.pdf]
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