When Were Trade Unions Established?


2 Answers

tracie benson Profile
tracie benson answered
In the 1800s there were no trade unions and workers rights
and wages were dictated by their employers. The Combination Acts, passed in
1799 and 1800, made strike action illegal. The penalty for breaking this law
was penalty of up to three months' imprisonment or two months' hard labour. This
act was supported by the Gagging Acts and the Six Acts. The three acts combined
to lay down measures that restricted workers rights including, prevention of more
than 50 workers from meeting together, publications that were considered
seditious or blasphemous were outlawed and a tax was placed on all publications
that were issued to voice an opinion rather than to state news .

These acts effectively prevented any trade union forms of
action taking place without suffering strict penalties which could extend to

Despite these, and other, acts and regulations Trade
Unions continued to grow. The
first major trade union was founded in 1833 - the Grand National Consolidated
Trades Union and in 1868 the (trade union congress) was formed. In 1871
the government passed an act recognising trade unions as legitimate bodies.
Kath Senior Profile
Kath Senior answered
There has always been a fear of working men gathering together and at the end of the 18th century the ruling classes were concerned especially with the rise in number of production workers with the Industrial Revolution.

From the mid 19th century unions were beginning to be recognised and the government accepted the right of working people to form unions to negotiate with their employers.

These unions grew rapidly and for many trades it also became mandatory to become a member and the closed shop was established. This meant if you were not prepared to join the union you would be exempt from working at a company or an occupation you were qualified in.

The Trades Union Congress established in 1920 was a body that incorporated all these individual unions into one association. This lasted until the end of the 20th century when the decline of the unions started due to generally better working conditions.

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