By Rebecca Zahn and Nicole Busby
06 July 2016
Women have played a key role in the British trade union movement since its inception. After all, the first strike for equal pay was organised by 1,500 women card-setters in Yorkshire in 1832. However, although trade unionism and the intellectual underpinnings of the labour movement were instigated around and by women – one need only think of the economist and labour historian Beatrice Webb (often referred to as one of ‘the Webbs’, i.e. the wife of Sidney but who was a pivotal figure in her own right) just as much as they were by men, the fact remains that once institutionalised, the labour movement became focused on the needs and concerns of the ‘standard male worker’. Women workers became part of the women’s movement – viewed as ‘the other’ and often subjected to outright hostility – rather than an integral part of the British workers’ movement. Women’s position outside the mainstream labour movement has been maintained up to the present day. Nowadays gendered occupational segregation and the prevalence of part-time work raise questions about the relevance of traditional trade unionism to women’s working lives. From their perceived threat to the established organisation of paid work up to these contemporary challenges to trade unionism, women can be seen as ‘dangerous’.
01 July 2016
By Carolyn Jones, Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC
THE world of work has changed and with it the nature and role of the workforce. For Britain’s 31 million workers, many of the changes have had a devastating impact on their working lives and their living standards. Britain’s workers are among the most insecure, unhappy and stressed workers in Europe.
28 June 2016
By Dr Alex Balch, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, The University of Liverpool
As the dust settles after the EU referendum, the implications of Brexit for working conditions in the UK will surely be significant but it could be some time before these consequences become clear.
23 June 2016
By Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary of the NUJ
The Investigatory Powers Bill, which will be debated in the House of Lords on Monday 27 June, contains a range of surveillance powers available to the security services, police and other public bodies that will allow the authorities to spy on journalists, trade unionists and citizens.
10 June 2016
By Dr Eugene Hickland and Professor Tony Dundon
The Celtic tiger is dead … social partnership has collapsed … the Troika have been and gone … a new coalition government struggle to coexist amidst the aftermath of crisis and uncertainty. Despite these challenges, trade unions show remarkable resilience and a capacity for continuity in bargaining for their members and helping to protect some of the most vulnerable in society.