In 1868, while suffering under major legal restrictions, the British trade unions teamed up to found a central body to lobby for their wider social and industrial aims and rights. Today, when unions are again subject to severe legal disadvantage, it is timely to recall the first Trades Union Congress (TUC) and unions’ achievements, and to look forward on union prospects for the future.
Nearly one million workers in the UK are on zero-hour contracts. A further five million are nominally self-employed. In modern Britain, flexibility is often presented as a way of reconciling pressures between work and family life.
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