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Governments, Labour, and the Law in Mid-Victorian BritainThe Trade Union Legislation of the 1870s$
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Mark Curthoys

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268894

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268894.001.0001

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Trade Unions Legalized

Trade Unions Legalized

(p.117) 5 Trade Unions Legalized
Governments, Labour, and the Law in Mid-Victorian Britain


Oxford University Press

In July 1869, the Liberal government in Britain had committed itself to allowing trade unions a recognized legal status on the condition that their objectives were not actually criminal. The resulting Trade Union Act of 1871 removed the civil disabilities attached to unions and gave them a formally recognized status. At the time, the nature of this development was overshadowed by the controversial questions of criminal law. This chapter also discusses the issue of whether trade unions should be treated as clubs or corporations, union members' welfare benefits, and collective bargaining and free trade.

Keywords:   trade unions, Britain, criminal law, corporations, welfare benefits, Trade Union Act, collective bargaining, free trade

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