Joined: 26 Dec 00
Gone with the wind (2)
Joined: 19 Nov 00
+2 The UK Trade Unions have been through three basic stages.
Firstly, in the 19th Century they were set up to protect the workers from oppressive conditions imposed by unscrupulous employers. Hence the Combination Acts to repel them, and the Tolpuddle Martyrs being sentenced to 7 seven years' transportation to Australia in the 1830's.
Secondly, in the 20th Century as workforces grew in size, they were a force for collective bargaining on wages and conditions with employers, although there were some hard line elements i.e.the Miners and Fleet Street.
Thirdly, the Unions saw strength in being involved in politics, and set up the Labour party in 1900, which they still bankroll in the 21C. Today all mainstream unions have a political fund which is financed from the Union Dues. Members can opt out but it is made difficult to do so.
It just seems to me that the Unions these days have lost their way from their original roots. Clearly they have a vested interest in seeing legislation that benefits their Members, but it is not their job to try to bring down governments to achieve that. We've had the "Combinations Act, perhaps we should have a "Y Fronts" act, i.e. you don't stick two fingers up to democracy.
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