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University 18 Yrs + | Thatcherism

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Thatcherism and Trade Union Reform

The Government was determined to reduce the power of the trade unions and plans were drawn up in opposition to deal with a future strike in the coal industry, a strategy successfully carried out in 1984-5.

The legal framework for trade unions was changed.

A ballot, rather than a show of hands, was required before a strike could take place and picketing was only allowed at the site of the strike and not at other places that might be economically related.

Compulsory trade union membership in a ‘closed shop’ was banned and employers no longer had to automatically to take union membership payments out of wages.

Trade union membership dropped by half during the period, although the decline of manufacturing industry was also an important factor.

Trade unions had to ballot members to keep their affiliation to the Labour Party, although all the ballots were in favour of keeping the link.