The Communication Structure Between Trade Unions and Employers



The decline of trade unionism in the UK which began in the late 1970s is a notable event in the history of labour in the country. Union membership has perhaps dwindled to just a mere one-third of its original size, whilst in the early 20th century, trade unions’ power led to the creation of one of the nation’s major political party, severely threatened national security, and buried the political career of a prominent political figure. Today, however, trade union activities are deemed the lowest since the last world war. Statistical data provide inkling to the underpinnings of the decline. These underpinnings include, among others, the composition of union membership, business cycle, employers and the government, personal and job-related characteristic, industrial structure and union leadership. Notwithstanding, it is evident that the decline of UK trade unionism was, first and foremost, precipitated by the passage of anti-trade union legislation that began in the early 1980s and continued into the early 1990s. The rise of the industrial revolution in England in the 18th century gave birth to trade unionism. Industrial machines were invented as a result of the discovery of steam and people in crowded cities to work in factories. England’s war with France in the late 18th century and into the early 19th century, however, hurt the economy and the conditions in the factories became bad. To protect themselves, factory workers organised into unions. This began the rise of trade unionism peaking into the “golden age” of labour unions in the 1840s.