Engineering Employers Federation
The Engineering Employers Federation is one of the earliest employer organisations in the UK. Central to the aggressive pursuit of corporate interests in the period 1896-1920 and to the creation of a number of key corporate lobby groups such as the Federation of British Industries, National Propaganda and its successor body the Economic League.
A brief history, from the University of Warwick EEF Archive site:
- The Engineering Employers' Federation was established on 24 April 1896 as the Employers' Federation of Engineering Associations. A predecessor body, the Iron Trades Employers' Association, had been founded in 1872, although it was not a negotiating body and was mainly concerned with providing assistance to employers in disputes (it was dissolved in 1900). An attempt to form a national federation was begun in 1889, but this Federation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Employers was one in which shipbuilding interests predominated. The Clyde-Belfast dispute and Clyde lockout of late 1895 provided further impetus to engineering employers to combine and was the immediate occasion for the moves which led to the Federation in April 1896. By 1899 the Federation had adopted the title Engineering Employers Federation (EEF).
- In 1918 the National Employers' Federation (established in 1913 as the Midland Employers' Federation) merged with the EEF which was then temporarily titled the Engineering & National Employers' Federation. (No records of the NEF have been traced in the EEF archives.)
- The importance of the engineering industry to the economy confers a special significance on the Federation deriving from what has been identified as its threefold function of collective action to protect individual firms and local associations, the preservation of the 'power to manage', and the maintenance of industrial peace through established procedure. Twice, in 1897-8 and 1922, the Federation organised nationwide lock-outs. Procedural agreements for the avoidance of disputes were made with the unions at the conclusion of each of these lock-outs. These agreements provided for local and national joint conferences on disputed matters and were in force throughout the period covered by the archive.
E. Wigham, The power to manage (London, 1973).