Formation of labour movements

labour movements

Labour unions and workers’ movements represent the collective demands and policies of the employees that would grant them fundamental rights and privileges. These movements, no matter how geographically disparate they are, always facilitate active engagement among workers. Labour is a crucial topic for students of economic sciences and you need to find someone who can do cheap essay writing. 

Labour congregations are never about a single worker’s demand or goodwill. Labours could effectively identify lapses in administration- unsafe work environment. Various protests erupted in parts of countries that set in motion the development of other ambitious labour unions. The function of labour unions was not merely to stop at mere formation but bringing forth winds of revolution. As per records, labour population only comprise 25% of workers were no less inept in taking over the authority.  

Objectives behind labour unions and movements

The causes of better compensation, rights and privileges, and employee-labour negotiation lie at the heart of these movements. Although precise mottos could be industry-specific, workers through these movements also attempt to generate greater awareness regarding workers’ rights that would prove beneficial for generations to come. Industries such as mining, manufacturing, transportation, and construction have witnessed an overwhelming surge of workers’ demonstrations where through effective communications they have discussed and stood for their rights. In many countries, formal labour unions for professionals are promulgated to look after employee welfare so that individuals never have to bother about wage negotiation or health benefits. 

Political parties have also contributed to the cause of labour by drafting effective policies and regulation. Eventually, the unions try to retain a monopoly to make better bargains on behalf of all the employees. During collective bargaining, union leaders who have a firmer grasp on benefits and politics discuss with a company representative about working conditions or wages. This helps with thorough organization and professionalism into the system since otherwise, it might appear chaotic. Each labour union possesses a unique identity through which they gain support and popularity. The mechanisms of protests, such as a strike or sit-in protests, are also prevalent for asserting productive results for their interest. 

Labour unions intrinsically try to achieve the following through various methods of protests and demonstrations-

- Expulsion of a policy or doctrine detrimental to the progress of wellbeing of workers

- Bridging the gap between blue and white-collar workers. For workers who have been at the bottom of inequality. It created a chain reaction throughout generation resulting in a chain of deprived generations. 

- Strengthen workers’ unity through summoning meetings, circulation of pamphlets, and organizing a peaceful march

- Point out prevailing inequalities to come across feasible alternatives or solutions for the same.

- To assemble non-union workers and form a coherent strategy to mobilize them into a cohesive whole

- To ascertain workers are receiving optimum benefits without any substantial reductions in their wages

- To formulate better and effective pension schemes and chalk holidays and paid leave plan.

- Creating a level playing field for employment opportunities for deserving workers

- Training new and unskilled workers for the greater good

Early history of the formation of labour unions

The industrial revolution set the ball in motion and caused the boom in labour union. It was an era when workers were inhumanely oppressed in city factories. The rise in workers’ movements threatened to shake the entire foundation of factory production that relied heavily on workers. Heavy mechanization of factories also resulted in massive job cuts and redundancy of human workers. Eventually, labours had to be satisfied with little compensation after long working hours. The unions bore the light at the end of the tunnel and vouched for better working conditions. 

Formation of labour unions was at its zenith during the second industrial revolution and sorted the mess that labour union fell into. Unions comprise of diverse workers who help in sustaining democracy. Policy formation had been considerably influenced by the demands and necessities of workers who have fought against employee dictatorship. It has paved the way for lower and middle-class workers to find an equal share of an economic boost. 


Here are the key features of labour unions that helped them to rise to prominence-

- Organized labour force- through the tenets of socialism, workers mobilized speeches and protests in different parts of the country. Units such as Knights of labour and AFL or Samuel Gompers stood out for their remarkable tenacity in setting new victory goals. They set a precedent for upcoming workers’ unions necessary to fight against arbitrary working situations. Political ideologies of the various groups of labour unions varied, but they were way ahead of their times. 

- Quality Exposure- number of workers started to participate with protesting bodies, and labour unions began receiving media attention. The Congress of Industrial Organization under the leadership of John L. Lewis appealed to the popular imagination. It sought to offer premium benefits to workers and their immediate family members. 

From 1848 to 1917, it was a prosperous era for labour unions and started gaining independence in society. It tended to distance itself from liberal politics and the influence of private ownership. It was a war on individual production and the reign of capitalism that contend to degrade workers. 

The period is engraved in History and is referred to as Bonapartism. The workers were, however, vulnerable since capitalists always threatened to crush the movement forever. In France, the situation was less tense, and working conditions witnessed distinct betterment- fair wages, and job security. The crisis shifted from the shoulders of workers, and in Germany, the power of capitalism breathed life into organized labour unions and movements. 

However, in contemporary society, scholars have remarked that the idea of abolishing capitalism through labour movements in somewhat absurd and unreachable. The organizations had enormous reach that defended their unjustified protocols. This claim simultaneously subverted popular theories such as Bernstein’s reformism. With the decline of union and rise in power of capitalistic ventures, it is evident that wages have slid downlabour movements, and employees have lost the multifaceted benefits that were formerly bestowed. The weakening of collective bargaining has also snatched the rights and promises that were once the handiwork of trade unions.


1034 Words


Feb 21, 2020


3 Pages

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