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The future of UK labour law

History & Policy

Saturday, 24 June 2017 from 11:00 to 13:00 (BST)

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General Admission 23 Jun 2017 Free  

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After a century of self-regulation and light legal control of industrial relations, Britain swung to a much tighter state-regulated system from the early 1980s. These laws were most one-sided and restrictive of trade unions and their activities, both during disputes and in terms of their internal governance. They remained so despite three terms of Labour government from the late 1990s (though significant improvement of employee rights occurred then). They were overlaid by more progressive EU Directives in the 2000s, especially as regards employee equality rights.

With the triggering of Britain's departure from the EU, it is surely time to revisit this entire framework of law. The TUF is therefore initiating a 'root and branch' examination of the origins of UK Labour law from the repeal of the Combination laws (1824/5) through to the strengthening of union rights (1870s to 1906) and on to the severe restrictions of those rights in the 1980s. We will then be looking forward with ideas/proposals for a fairer and more balanced scenario in a future post-Brexit Britain.

Papers will run chronologically through this important history and there will be ample time for questions and discussion

Dr Jim Moher BCL, former Communication Workers Union national official and joint founder of H&P Trade Union Forum, "From Repression to the 'Great Charter of Union Rights' - the Combination Laws to the Trade Disputes Act 1906."

Dr Adrian Williamson QC, FRHistS, "The Age of Voluntarism? Trade Union law and practice 1914-1979."

Professor Richard Whiting, Emeritus Professor of Modern British History, University of Leeds, "The Thatcher reforms of the 1980s."

Sarah Veale, former Head of Equality and Employment Rights at the Trade Unions Congress and current Executive Committee member of the Institute of Employment Rights, "Manifesto for a comprehensive revision of workers' rights."

Do you have questions about The future of UK labour law? Contact History & Policy

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When & Where


King's College London
Strand
WC2R 2LS London
United Kingdom

Saturday, 24 June 2017 from 11:00 to 13:00 (BST)


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History & Policy

H&P is a unique collaboration between King's College London and the University of Cambridge.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

Where tickets are charged, this is to cover the cost of refreshments.

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