Why do we need trade unions?

Source: TUC  (www.unionhistory.info/timeline/timeline.php)

1867: Employers could be sued by workers for breach of contract
1874: Limit working day to 10 hours
1884: Vote given to the majority or adult men
1899: Ruskin College opened to extend benefits of an Oxford education to the working class
1900: Labour Party formed
1903: Formation of the Workers’ Education Association
1906: Formation of the National Federation of Women Workers by Mary MacArthur
1921: Poplar Labour councillors decide to withold funds from the London County Council to help it’s citizens out of poverty. councillors including Herbert Morrison were imprisoned for the policy but after many protests were released.
1928: Vote given to all women.
1946: National Insurance Act (Labour Party) which provided sickness and welfare benefits to all who paid contributions.
1946: National Insurance  (industrial injuries) Act which insured against workplace accidents.
1946: Introduction of the National Health Service.
1963: Conservative Government pass the Contracts of Employment Act requiring employers to give notice of a termination of contract,  and also to write down terms of a verbal one.
1965: Redundancy Payments Act (Labour) passed. Requires employers to consult with unions in advance of redundancy, and gives their employees not only notice of redundancy but financial compensation too.
1968: Race Relations Act passed by Labour Government.
1970: Equal Pay Act passed by Labour Government.
1974: Trade Unions and Labour Relations Act (Labour).
1974: Health and Safety at Work Act (Labour). Workplace safety inspectors should be trade union reps too.
1975: Sex Discrimination Act passed by Labour Government.
1988: The National Minimum wage Act (New Labour).

Many improvements and benefits even the most Conservative of workers can enjoy were brought in, or campaigned for,  by trades unionists or it’s political arm, the Labour Party.  They were introduced by disobedience, by striking,  by lobbying and by political channels. Next time a service is affected by industrial action remember that many freedoms at work were won by Trade Unionism.
But it hasn’t stopped there…hopefully it never will!


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