Pressure for Trade Unionism 1785 - 1834

  • Created by: becky.65
  • Created on: 30-03-18 12:18

Trade societies had existed as early as the 17th century but were mostly concerned with protecting skilled trades:

  • Primarily interested in looking after their own trades
  • Remained small
  • Emphasis was placed on securing their status within their given profession
  • They regulated the process of apprenticeship within their trade and embarked upon an early form of 'closed shop' practices
  • 1793 - London printers petitioned their masters for an increase in their fees; obtained 539 signatures and this degree of unity was enough to have a successful outcome

Industrialisation meant that a more widespread network of socities grew to include those deemed 'general' or 'unskilled' because:

  • the emerging factory system created increased demand for workers and this gave them a sense of their own value to their employers because they could see the importance of their contribution to profit
  • the expansion of the factory system was one result of the reluctance of the national government to interfere which often resulted in the exploitation of workers, which encouraged working classes to combine in their own interests, leading to the formation of new organisations to offer collective means of action

The strength of trade societies lay in the concept of collective bargaining and the threat of a collective withdrawal of labour as this would prevent factories and mills from operating and making money

The threat of the 'strike' or 'turnout' was very potent and was used throughout the 18th and 19th century, however it relied upon a sense of unity among the workers which was often difficult to achieve

Building upon trade societies, trade unions became established to provide a more concentrated level of protection for workers

It was more formal which organised workers into a collective and united body with the intention of achieving a common aim for the group - created a more forceful voice for protection

Trade unions took a broader interest in their given trades and reached beyond the local districts

1765 - miners in the north east went on strike for better wages from employers

Strikes tended to be for individual action, however as industrialistion continued it became increasingly hard for such individual action because the position of employers became strengthed by population growth, which raised the demand for employment

1750/1850 - population…


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