Labour Politics in a Naval Dockyard: The Case of Karlskrona, Sweden c. 1880–1925
Naval dockyards have been largely neglected by labour historians, a surprising omission given their importance as industrial workplaces with a distinct culture of labour and labour relations. This article considers labour politics in Karlskrona dockyard, Sweden, in the light of a growing body of research on work and labour relations in the British and other European dockyards. Evidence from Karlskrona suggests that, rather than being repressed by military discipline or bought off by generous state benefits, the dockyard workforce drew on aspects of its unique relationship with the national state to improve working conditions. Particular attention is given to the role of the dockyard trade union in creating a sense of workforce identity as state employees. This is in contrast to the British dockyards where unionism was founded on the rigid division of labour in the shipbuilding industry.