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Trade Unions and the World of Work

The period 1945 to 1969 saw unprecedented growth in the UK economy, to the extent that Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was able to tell the electorate 'You've never had it so good' during the 1959 general election campaign, but at times it was also a difficult period, for both employers and employees. After the end of the war, goods were produced merely to pay off Britain's debts, and after working and fighting through the war, the working classes demanded better wages and conditions, and a higher standard of living.

The Daily Mail, where Illingworth worked, was not a newspaper noted for its support of trades unions, and in many instances Illingworth portrayed strikers as selfish individuals, willing to inconvenience everyone else, and ruin the country in order to get what they wanted. Illingworth's cartoons refer to all manner of industrial disputes as well as the growth in the economy. Many union leaders are portrayed in his cartoons, and he pays special attention to the Trades Unions Congress (TUC) and the relationship between the Labour Party and the Trades Unions.

Cartoons referring to strikes

Cartoon which refers to the railway workers' strike

Cartoons which refer to the coal miners' strike, women at Ford's Halewood factory on strike, the dockers' strike and the Closed Shop.

The economy

Cartoons which refer to the state of Britain's economy, the Governor of the Bank of England's economic forecast and takeovers in the media industry.

Labour and the unions

These cartoons refer to the relationship between the Labour Party and the trade unions during the 1940s and the 1960s.

TUC

Illingworth portrays the TUC as an irresponsible organisation in these cartoons.

Commerce

Cartoons referring to the labour problems in Britain after the war, in the context of competition from the United States and Japan.

Union Leaders

Richard Greene, 1910- , General Secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) 1957-1975

George Woodcock, 1904-1979, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress 1960-1969