Essay on Conservative Legislation and Trade Union Power

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Conservative Legislation (during the 1980s and early 1990’s) and Trade Union Power

Trade Unions can be defined as:
‘ Organisations of workers set up to improve the status, pay and conditions of employment of its members’.
Salaman, ‘Industrial Relations’, P77

From the end of the second world war, and up until the 1970’s trade unionism was continually growing. By 1979, 57.3% of all people employed were members of trade unions.

Annual abstract Statistics, 1990, ‘Industrial relations’, M.P. Jackson, 1991, P57

‘Trade unionism may be seen as a social response to industrialisation and capitalism’
Salaman, Industrial relations, P79

In the early days of trade unionism, there was a direct need for workers to be represented, in areas such
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The government used monetary policy over demand management, and concentrated on the control of the rate of interest in an attempt to stop low levels of unemployment causing inflation. The government decided to use collective bargaining as a means of setting rates of pay for the first time, the government no longer required Trade Unionists as negotiators of pay, because private negotiating bodies were now used. It was now assumed that in the present economic climate, in accordance with interest rates and government objectives that the price which was set would be reasonable, and if not then the government assumed that the employers knew better, this being one indication of Mrs Thatchers non-tolerance towards Trade Unions, also shown by Mrs Thatcher passing control of pay structures to private bodies and employers. This attitude is very different to the present day ‘New’ Labour government, who sees government interaction in the wage structure as being very important. For example, the introduction of the National Minimum Wage.

In the past, previous governments have always placed great emphasis upon collectivism, yet, Margaret Thatchers government saw the future as being more individual and made an attempt at reducing/abolishing collectivist thinking. The government wanted people to think more individually. Mrs Thatcher viewed that the collectivist way of thinking would get in the way of the

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