Collective bargaining is a process of negotiation between employers and a group of employees aimed at agreements to regulate working salaries, working conditions and other aspects of workers' compensation and rights for workers. The interests of the employees are presented by representatives of a trade union to which the employees belong; the collective agreements reached by these negotiations set out wage scales, working hours, training and safety, grievance mechanisms, rights to participate in workplace or company affairs. The union may negotiate with a single employer or may negotiate with a group of businesses, depending on the country, to reach an industry-wide agreement. A collective agreement functions as a labour contract between an employer and one or more unions. Collective bargaining consists of the process of negotiation between representatives of a union and employers in respect of the terms and conditions of employment of employees, such as wages, hours of work, working conditions, grievance procedures, about the rights and responsibilities of trade unions.
The parties refer to the result of the negotiation as a collective bargaining agreement or as a collective employment agreement. The term "collective bargaining" was first used in 1891 by Beatrice Webb, a founder of the field of industrial relations in Britain, it refers to the sort of collective negotiations and agreements that had existed since the rise of trade unions during the 18th century. In the United States, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 made it illegal for any employer to deny union rights to an employee; the issue of unionizing government employees in a public-sector trade union was much more controversial until the 1950s. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order granting federal employees the right to unionize. An issue of jurisdiction surfaced in National Labor Relations Board v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago when the Supreme Court held that the National Labor Relations Board could not assert jurisdiction over a church-operated school because such jurisdiction would violate the First Amendment establishment of freedom of religion and the separation of church of state.
The right to collectively bargain is recognized through international human rights conventions. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identifies the ability to organize trade unions as a fundamental human right. Item 2 of the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work defines the "freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining" as an essential right of workers; the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 and several other conventions protect collective bargaining through the creation of international labour standards that discourage countries from violating workers' rights to associate and collectively bargain. In June 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada extensively reviewed the rationale for regarding collective bargaining as a human right. In the case of Facilities Subsector Bargaining Association v. British Columbia, the Court made the following observations: The right to bargain collectively with an employer enhances the human dignity and autonomy of workers by giving them the opportunity to influence the establishment of workplace rules and thereby gain some control over a major aspect of their lives, namely their work… Collective bargaining is not an instrument for pursuing external ends…rather is intrinsically valuable as an experience in self-government… Collective bargaining permits workers to achieve a form of workplace democracy and to ensure the rule of law in the workplace.
Workers gain a voice to influence the establishment of rules that control a major aspect of their lives. Union members and other workers covered by collective agreements get, on average, a wage markup over their nonunionized counterparts; such a markup is 5 to 10 percent in industrial countries. Unions tend to equalize the income distribution between skilled and unskilled workers; the welfare loss associated with unions is 0.2 to 0.5 of GDP, similar to monopolies in product markets. In Sweden the coverage of collective agreements is high despite the absence of legal mechanisms to extend agreements to whole industries. In 2016, 84% of all private sector employees were covered by collective agreements, 100% of public sector employees and in all 90%; this reflects the dominance of self-regulation over state regulation in Swedish industrial relations. In the United States, the National Labor Relations Act covers most collective agreements in the private sector; this act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate, spy on, harass, or terminate the employment of workers because of their union membership or to retaliate against them for engaging in organizing campaigns or other "concerted activities," to form company unions, or to refuse to engage in collective bargaining with the union that represents their employees.
It is illegal to require any employee to join a union as a condition of employment. Unions are able to secure safe work conditions and equitable pay for their labor. At a workplace where a majority of workers have voted for union representation, a committee of employees and union representatives negotiate a contract with the management regarding wages, hours and other terms and conditions of empl
A minimum wage is the lowest remuneration that employers can pay their workers—the price floor below which workers may not sell their labor. Most countries had introduced minimum wage legislation by the end of the 20th century. Supply and demand models suggest that there may be employment losses from minimum wages. However, if the labor market is in a state of monopsony, minimum wages can increase the efficiency of the market. There is debate about the effect of minimum wages; the movement for minimum wages was first motivated as a way to stop the exploitation of workers in sweatshops, by employers who were thought to have unfair bargaining power over them. Over time, minimum wages came to be seen as a way to help lower-income families. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in many jurisdictions, differences of opinion exist about the benefits and drawbacks of a minimum wage. Supporters of the minimum wage say it increases the standard of living of workers, reduces poverty, reduces inequality, boosts morale.
In contrast, opponents of the minimum wage say it increases poverty, increases unemployment and is damaging to businesses, because excessively high minimum wages require businesses to raise the prices of their product or service to accommodate the extra expense of paying a higher wage and some low-wage workers "will be unable to find work... will be pushed into the ranks of the unemployed."Modern national laws enforcing compulsory union membership which prescribed minimum wages for their members were first passed in New Zealand and Australia in the 1890s. Modern minimum wage laws trace their origin to the Ordinance of Labourers, a decree by King Edward III that set a maximum wage for laborers in medieval England. King Edward III, a wealthy landowner, was dependent, like his lords, on serfs to work the land. In the autumn of 1348, the Black Plague decimated the population; the severe shortage of labor caused wages to soar and encouraged King Edward III to set a wage ceiling. Subsequent amendments to the ordinance, such as the Statute of Labourers, increased the penalties for paying a wage above the set rates.
While the laws governing wages set a ceiling on compensation, they were used to set a living wage. An amendment to the Statute of Labourers in 1389 fixed wages to the price of food; as time passed, the Justice of the Peace, charged with setting the maximum wage began to set formal minimum wages. The practice was formalized with the passage of the Act Fixing a Minimum Wage in 1604 by King James I for workers in the textile industry. By the early 19th century, the Statutes of Labourers was repealed as capitalistic England embraced laissez-faire policies which disfavored regulations of wages; the subsequent 19th century saw. As trade unions were decriminalized during the century, attempts to control wages through collective agreement were made. However, this meant. In Principles of Political Economy in 1848, John Stuart Mill argued that because of the collective action problems that workers faced in organisation, it was a justified departure from laissez-faire policies to regulate people's wages and hours by the law.
It was not until the 1890s that the first modern legislative attempts to regulate minimum wages were seen in New Zealand and Australia. The movement for a minimum wage was focused on stopping sweatshop labor and controlling the proliferation of sweatshops in manufacturing industries; the sweatshops employed large numbers of women and young workers, paying them what were considered to be substandard wages. The sweatshop owners were thought to have unfair bargaining power over their employees, a minimum wage was proposed as a means to make them pay fairly. Over time, the focus changed to helping people families, become more self-sufficient; the first modern national minimum wages were enacted by the government recognition of unions which in turn established minimum wage policy among their members, as in New Zealand in 1894, followed by Australia in 1896 and the United Kingdom in 1909. In the United States, statutory minimum wages were first introduced nationally in 1938, they were reintroduced and expanded in the United Kingdom in 1998.
There is now legislation or binding collective bargaining regarding minimum wage in more than 90 percent of all countries. In the European Union, 22 member states out of 28 have national minimum wages. Other countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Italy, have no minimum wage laws, but rely on employer groups and trade unions to set minimum earnings through collective bargaining. Minimum wage rates vary across many different jurisdictions, not only in setting a particular amount of money—for example $7.25 per hour under certain US state laws, $11.00 in the US state of Washington, or £7.83 in the United Kingdom—but in terms of which pay period or the scope of coverage. The United States federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. However, some states do not recognize the minimum wage law, such as Tennessee. Other states operate below the federal minimum wage such as Wyoming; some jurisdictions allow employers to count tips given to their workers as credit towards the minimum wage levels.
India was one of the first developing countries to intr
Labour economics seeks to understand the functioning and dynamics of the markets for wage labour. Labour markets or job markets function through the interaction of employers. Labour economics looks at the suppliers of labour services and the demanders of labour services, attempts to understand the resulting pattern of wages and income. Labour is a measure of the work done by human beings, it is conventionally contrasted with such other factors of production as capital. Some theories focus on human capital. There are two sides to labour economics. Labour economics can be seen as the application of microeconomic or macroeconomic techniques to the labour market. Microeconomic techniques study individual firms in the labour market. Macroeconomic techniques look at the interrelations between the labour market, the goods market, the money market, the foreign trade market, it looks at how these interactions influence macro variables such as employment levels, participation rates, aggregate income and gross domestic product.
The labour force is defined as the number of people of working age, who are either employed or looking for work. The participation rate is the number of people in the labour force divided by the size of the adult civilian noninstitutional population; the non-labour force includes those who are not looking for work, those who are institutionalised such as in prisons or psychiatric wards, stay-at home spouses and those serving in the military. The unemployment level is defined as the labour force minus the number of people employed; the unemployment rate is defined as the level of unemployment divided by the labour force. The employment rate is defined as the number of people employed divided by the adult population. In these statistics, self-employed people are counted as employed. Variables like employment level, unemployment level, labour force, unfilled vacancies are called stock variables because they measure a quantity at a point in time, they can be contrasted with flow variables. Changes in the labour force are due to flow variables such as natural population growth, net immigration, new entrants, retirements from the labour force.
Changes in unemployment depend on inflows made up of non-employed people starting to look for jobs and of employed people who lose their jobs and look for new ones, outflows of people who find new employment and of people who stop looking for employment. When looking at the overall macroeconomy, several types of unemployment have been identified, including: Frictional unemployment – This reflects the fact that it takes time for people to find and settle into new jobs. Technological advancement reduces frictional unemployment. Structural unemployment – This reflects a mismatch between the skills and other attributes of the labour force and those demanded by employers. Rapid industry changes of a technical and/or economic nature will increase levels of structural unemployment; the process of globalization has contributed to structural changes in labour markets. Natural rate of unemployment – This is the summation of frictional and structural unemployment, that excludes cyclical contributions of unemployment.
It is the lowest rate of unemployment that a stable economy can expect to achieve, given that some frictional and structural unemployment is inevitable. Economists do not agree on the level of the natural rate, with estimates ranging from 1% to 5%, or on its meaning – some associate it with "non-accelerating inflation"; the estimated rate varies from country from time to time. Demand deficient unemployment – In Keynesian economics, any level of unemployment beyond the natural rate is due to insufficient goods demand in the overall economy. During a recession, aggregate expenditure is deficient causing the underutilisation of inputs. Aggregate expenditure can be increased, according to Keynes, by increasing consumption spending, increasing investment spending, increasing government spending, or increasing the net of exports minus imports, since AE = C + I + G +. Neoclassical economists view the labour market as similar to other markets in that the forces of supply and demand jointly determine price and quantity.
However, the labour market differs from other markets in several ways. In particular, the labour market may act as a non-clearing market. While according to neoclassical theory most markets attain a point of equilibrium without excess supply or demand, this may not be true of the labour market: it may have a persistent level of unemployment. Contrasting the labour market to other markets reveals persistent compensating differentials among similar workers. Models that assume perfect competition in the labour market, as discussed below, conclude that workers earn their marginal product of labour. Households are suppliers of labour. In microeconomic theory, people are assumed to be rational and seeking to maximize their utility function. In the labour market model, their utility function expresses
Sir Edward Richard George Heath known as Ted Heath, was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. He was a strong supporter of the European Communities, after winning the decisive vote in the House of Commons by 336 to 244, he led the negotiations that culminated in Britain's entry into the EC on 1 January 1973, it was, says biographer John Campbell, "Heath's finest hour". Although he planned to be an innovator as Prime Minister, his government foundered on economic difficulties, including high inflation and major strikes, he became an embittered critic of Margaret Thatcher. Heath's lower middle-class origins were quite unusual for a Tory leader, he was a leader in student politics at the University of Oxford and served as an officer in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War. He worked in the Civil Service, but resigned in order to stand for Parliament, was elected for Bexley in the 1950 general election.
He was the Chief Whip from 1955 to 1959. Having entered the Cabinet as Minister of Labour in 1959, he was promoted to Lord Privy Seal and became President of the Board of Trade. Heath was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1965. Heath became Prime Minister after winning the 1970 general election. In 1971 he oversaw the decimalisation of British coinage, in 1972 he reformed Britain's system of local government, reducing the number of local authorities and creating a number of new metropolitan counties. Most he took Britain into the European Economic Community in 1973. Heath's premiership coincided with the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, with the suspension of the Stormont Parliament and the imposition of direct British rule. Unofficial talks with Provisional Irish Republican Army delegates were unsuccessful, as was the Sunningdale Agreement of 1973, which led the MPs of the Ulster Unionist Party to withdraw from the Conservative whip. Heath tried to curb the trade unions with the Industrial Relations Act 1971, hoped to deregulate the economy and make a transfer from direct to indirect taxation.
Rising unemployment in 1972 led him to reflate the economy. Two miners' strikes, at the start of 1974, damaged the government. Heath called an election for February 1974 to obtain a mandate to face down the miners' wage demands, but this instead resulted in a hung parliament in which the Labour Party, despite gaining fewer votes, had four more seats than the Conservatives. Heath resigned as Prime Minister after trying in vain to form a coalition with the Liberal Party. Despite losing a second general election in October that year, he vowed to continue as party leader. In February 1975, Margaret Thatcher defeated him to win the leadership. Returning to the backbenches, Heath was vocally critical of Thatcherism, he remained a backbench MP until retiring at the 2001 election, serving as the Father of the House for his last nine years in Parliament. Outside politics, Heath was a talented musician, he died in 2005, aged 89. He is one of only four British prime ministers never to have married. Edward Heath was born at 54 Albion Road, Kent on 9 July 1916, the son of William George Heath, a carpenter who built air frames for Vickers during the First World War, was subsequently employed as a builder and Edith Anne Heath, a maid.
His father was a successful small businessman after taking over a building and decorating firm. Heath's paternal grandfather had run a small dairy business, when that failed worked as a porter at Broadstairs Station on the Southern Railway. Heath was known as "Teddy" as a young man, he was educated at Chatham House Grammar School in Ramsgate, in 1935 with the aid of a county scholarship he went up to study at Balliol College, Oxford. In years, Heath's peculiar accent, with its "strangulated" vowel sounds, combined with his non-Standard pronunciation of "l" as "w" and "out" as "eout", was satirised by Monty Python in the audio sketch "Teach Yourself Heath" (released on a 7" flexi-disc single included with initial copies of their 1972 LP Monty Python's Previous Record. Heath's biographer John Campbell speculates that his speech, unlike that of his father and younger brother, who both spoke with Kent accents, must have undergone "drastic alteration on encountering Oxford", although retaining elements of Kent speech.
A talented musician, Heath won the college's organ scholarship in his first term which enabled him to stay at the university for a fourth year. While at university Heath became active in Conservative politics. On the key political issue of the day, foreign policy, he opposed the Conservative-dominated government of the day more openly, his first Paper Speech at the Oxford Union, in Michaelmas term 1936, was in opposition to the appeasement of Germany by returning her colonies, confiscated during the First World War. In June 1937 he was elected President of the Oxford University Conservative Association as a pro-Spanish Republic candidate, in opposition to the pro-Franco John Stokes. In 1937–38 he was
The European Union is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located in Europe. It has an area of an estimated population of about 513 million; the EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency; the EU and European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community, established by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome.
The original members of what came to be known as the European Communities were the Inner Six: Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, West Germany. The Communities and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit; the latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the United Kingdom signified the intention to leave after a membership referendum in June 2016 and is negotiating its withdrawal. Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2017 generated a nominal gross domestic product of 19.670 trillion US dollars, constituting 24.6% of global nominal GDP. Additionally, all 28 EU countries have a high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence.
The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as an emerging superpower. During the centuries following the fall of Rome in 476, several European States viewed themselves as translatio imperii of the defunct Roman Empire: the Frankish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire were thereby attempts to resurrect Rome in the West; this political philosophy of a supra-national rule over the continent, similar to the example of the ancient Roman Empire, resulted in the early Middle Ages in the concept of a renovatio imperii, either in the forms of the Reichsidee or the religiously inspired Imperium Christianum. Medieval Christendom and the political power of the Papacy are cited as conducive to European integration and unity. In the oriental parts of the continent, the Russian Tsardom, the Empire, declared Moscow to be Third Rome and inheritor of the Eastern tradition after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The gap between Greek East and Latin West had been widened by the political scission of the Roman Empire in the 4th century and the Great Schism of 1054. Pan-European political thought emerged during the 19th century, inspired by the liberal ideas of the French and American Revolutions after the demise of Napoléon's Empire. In the decades following the outcomes of the Congress of Vienna, ideals of European unity flourished across the continent in the writings of Wojciech Jastrzębowski, Giuseppe Mazzini or Theodore de Korwin Szymanowski; the term United States of Europe was used at that time by Victor Hugo during a speech at the International Peace Congress held in Paris in 1849: A day will come when all nations on our continent will form a European brotherhood... A day will come when we shall see... the United States of America and the United States of Europe face to face, reaching out for each other across the seas. During the interwar period, the consciousness that national markets in Europe were interdependent though confrontational, along with the observation of a larger and growing US market on the other side of the ocean, nourished the urge for the economic integration of the continent.
In 1920, advocating the creation of a European economic union, British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that "a Free Trade Union should be established... to impose no protectionist tariffs whatever against the produce of other members of the Union." During the same decade, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, one of the first to imagine of a modern political union of Europe, founded the Pan-Europa Movement. His ideas influenced his contemporaries, among which Prime Minister of France Aristide Briand. In 1929, the latter gave a speech in favour of a European Union before the assembly of the League of Nations, precursor of the United Nations. In a radio address in March 1943, with war still raging, Britain's leader Sir Winston Churchill spoke warmly of "restoring the true greatness of Europe" once victory had been achieved, mused on the post-war creation of a "Council of Europe" which would bring the European nations together to build peace. After World War II, European integration was seen as an antidote to the extreme nationalism which had devastated the continent.
In a speech delivered on 19
Leonard Robert Carr, Baron Carr of Hadley, PC was a 20th Century British Conservative Party politician, the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom from 1972 to 1974. Robert Carr was educated at Westminster School and Gonville and Caius College, where he read Natural Sciences, graduating in 1938. After graduation he applied his knowledge of metallurgy at John Dale & Co, the family metal engineering firm, he was elected Member of Parliament for Mitcham in 1950 and served there until 1974 when the seat was merged and he moved to Carshalton. In Edward Heath's government he served as Secretary of State for Employment and was responsible for the modernising Industrial Relations Act 1971, which balanced the introduction of compensation for unfair dismissal with curbs on the freedom to strike and the virtual abolition of closed shop agreements; the Industrial Relations Act 1971 was disliked by the trade unions whose industrial action lead to the three day week and to the defeat of the government. The victorious Labour Party promptly repealed the Industrial Relations Act, replacing it with their own Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 which, while scrapping the "offensive" provisions re-enacted the remainder of Carr's 1971 Act.
In 1971 he escaped injury when The Angry Brigade anarchist group exploded two bombs outside his house. More than thirty years a member of the group issued a public apology to Carr, sent him a Christmas card. In 1972 he served a brief period as Lord President of the Council and was appointed Home Secretary after the resignation of Reginald Maudling. After his defeat in the first ballot of the 1975 Conservative leadership contest, Edward Heath asked Carr to "take over the functions of leader" until a new leader was elected. Carr was created a life peer as Baron Carr of Hadley, of Monken Hadley, North London, in 1976. Carr died 17 February 2012 at the age of 95 years, his body was buried in the graveyard of St. Peters Church, in the Gloucestershire village of Farmington, he was survived by his wife and two daughters. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Robert Carr
United Kingdom labour law
United Kingdom labour law regulates the relations between workers and trade unions. People at work in the UK benefit from a minimum charter of employment rights, which are found in various Acts, common law and equity; this includes the right to a minimum wage of £7.83 for over 25-year-olds under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. The Working Time Regulations 1998 give the right to 28 days paid holidays, breaks from work, attempts to limit excessively long working hours; the Employment Rights Act 1996 gives the right to leave for child care, the right to request flexible working patterns. The Pensions Act 2008 gives the right to be automatically enrolled in a basic occupational pension, whose funds must be protected according to the Pensions Act 1995. To get fair labour standards beyond the minimum, the most important right is to collectively participate in decisions about how an enterprise is managed; this works through collective bargaining, underpinned by the right to strike, a growing set of rights of direct workplace participation.
Workers must be able to vote for trustees of their occupational pensions under the Pensions Act 2004. In some enterprises, such as universities, staff can vote for the directors of the organisation. In enterprises with over 50 staff, workers must be informed and consulted about major economic developments or difficulties; this happens through a increasing number of work councils, which must be requested by staff. However, the UK remains behind European standards in requiring all employees to have a vote for their company's board of directors, alongside private sector shareholders, or government authorities in the public sector. Collective bargaining, between democratically organised trade unions and the enterprise's management, has been seen as a "single channel" for individual workers to counteract the employer's abuse of power when it dismisses staff or fix the terms of work. Collective agreements are backed up by a trade union's right to strike: a fundamental requirement of democratic society in international law.
Under the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992 strikes are lawful if they are "in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute". As well as having rights for fair treatment, the Equality Act 2010 requires that people are treated unless there is a good justification, based on their gender, sexual orientation and age. To combat social exclusion, employers must positively accommodate the needs of disabled people. Part-time staff, agency workers, people on fixed-term contracts are treated equally compared to full-time or permanent staff. To tackle unemployment, all employees are entitled to reasonable notice before dismissal after a qualifying period of a month, after two years they can only be dismissed for a fair reason, are entitled to a redundancy payment if their job was no longer economically necessary. If an enterprise is bought or outsourced, the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations 2006 require that employees' terms cannot be worsened without a good economic, technical or organisational reason.
The purpose of these rights is to ensure people have dignified living standards, whether or not they have the relative bargaining power to get good terms and conditions in their contract. Labour law in its modern form is a creation of the last three decades of the 20th century. However, as a system of regulating the employment relationship, labour law has existed since people worked. In feudal England, the first significant labour laws followed the Black Death. Given the shortage of workers and consequent price rises the Ordinance of Labourers 1349 and the Statute of Labourers 1351 attempted to suppress sources of wage inflation by banning workers organisation, creating offences for any able-bodied person that did not work, fixing wages at pre-plague levels; this led to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, in turn suppressed and followed up with the Statute of Cambridge 1388, which banned workers from moving around the country. Yet conditions were improving. One sign was the beginning of the more enlightened Truck Acts, dating from 1464, that required that workers be paid in cash and not kind.
In 1772 slavery was declared to be illegal in R v Knowles, ex parte Somersett, the subsequent Slave Trade Act 1807 and Slavery Abolition Act 1833 enforced prohibition throughout the British Empire. The turn into the 19th century coincided with the start of the massive boom in production. People's relationship to their employers moved from one of status - formal subordination and deference - to contract whereby people were formally free to choose their work. However, freedom of contract did not, as the economist Adam Smith observed, change a worker's factual dependency on employers; as its height, the businesses and corporations of Britain's industrial revolution organised half the world's production across a third of the globe's surface and a quarter of its population. Joint Stock Companies, building railways and factories, manufacturing household goods, connecting telegraphs, distributing coal, formed the backbone of the laissez faire model of commerce. Industrialisation meant greater urbanisation, miserable conditions in the factories.
The Factory Acts dating from 1803 required minimum standards on hours and conditions of working children. But people were attempting to organise more formally. Trade unions were suppressed following the French Revolution of 1789 under the Combination Act 1799; the Master and Servant Act 1823 and subsequent updates stipulated that all workmen were subject to criminal penalties for disobedience, calling for strikes was punished as a