Essay Uk Trade Union in 21 Century

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Historically, trade unions in the United Kingdom have been viewed as: (1) collective employee organisations established to protect employees from arbitrary actions by employers in matters of pay and working conditions, and (2) as promoters of the legitimate interests of people at work. In practice, they have also played an important role in the political life of the nation, and, to a lesser extent, in its social affairs. The ability of trade unions to exercise power and influence over users of their service depends on the relative demand for that service. Thus, when demands for skilled labour in the economy are high trade unions are in a relatively powerful position to negotiate a high price for the
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Strikes and other trade union actions were once common themes in British newspapers and television news. The disruption and political instability they caused were important in laying the grounds for a long period of Conservative government. A conjunction of tightening legislation, fear of unemployment and reduced trade union authority led to a relatively steady decline in the number of strikes.


The legislation had a profound effect on the power and influence of trade unions. In various ways, it had a direct impact on issues such as trade union membership, closed shop agreements, trade union recognition and reduction in industrial action.

Impact of Relations Legislation Enacted by
Conservative Administrations

Key changes Acts of Parliament contributing to change
Decline in trade union membership Indirectly, all the Acts listed in Table-1
Abolition of the closed shop Employment Act, 1980
Employment Act, 1982
Public Order Act, 1986
Decline in trade union recognition Employment Act, 1980
Trade Union Act, 1984
Decline in collective bargaining Indirectly all the listed Acts
Single-employer bargaining Indirectly because of the change in style of employee relations
Reduction in industrial action Employment Act, 1980, in relation to picketing
Employment Act, 1982
Trade Union Act, 1984
Public Order Act, 1986

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