This chapter provides an overview of National and Local Government Officers Association (NALGO)’s history up to 1978, and briefly looks forward to the 1980s. It identifies the changing forms of trade unionism adopted. The main argument is that all trade unions are necessarily rooted in collective bargaining as a response to exploitation and alienation at work–an underlying dynamic shared by all unions representing all types of worker. It retraces the union’s development from its origins as an association with leaders who declared that it was not a trade union to its entry into the mainstream of the British labour movement. Then, it summarizes NALGO as it was in 1978, describing its main structures and the types of employees and industries covered, and identifies the main collective-bargaining arrangements and outcomes. Lastly, it introduces the main issues with which the union dealt during the period of this volume, from 1979 to 1993.
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