Trade Unions Before and After Margaret Thatcher

Essay by makifbalkayaUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, August 2009

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In this essay, I will deal with the trade unions in Britain. This essay is especially focused on their background, their conditions before Mrs. Thatcher, under Mrs. Thatcher and after Mrs Thatcher. Through changing ideological, political, and economic conditions, the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher also changed the conditions of trade unions. In this essay I will see trade unions background, then their conditions after 1950s till Thatcher, and trade union structure under Thatcher, and then its condition after Thatcher with a conclusion.

First of all, the question is: what is trade union? Trade union is an organization in which workers come together in order to do something, to achieve their common goals under this organization. Generally, these goals are working conditions, working hours, wages, andBALKAYA 2/9so on. The trade union enters in an agreement with the employer in the name of union members and discusses labour contracts with employers.

When we have a look at trade unions history, it is seen that it was not so powerful in 1860s. In the United Kingdom, Trade unions were first decriminalized under the Royal Commission in 1867. Its establishment aim was to give advantages to both employers and to employees. In the United Kingdom, the Trade Unions movement was just 5% of the working class in 1867. In those years the trade unions were not supported by laws. Also they were uncoordinated. Permanent trade unions were established from the 1850s. In 1860, the London Trades Council was founded in 1860. Then in 1868, The Trades Union Congress (TUC) was established. In 1867, in the United Kingdom the legal status of trade unions was established by Royal Commissions. Unions were legalized in 1871.

The early trade unions were not fully supported by laws; they could easily have been crushed. But by...