chapter  9
20 Pages

WORKERS FIRST, WOMEN SECOND? TRADE UNIONS AND THE EQUALITY AGENDA

ByAnne Morris

The emergence of ‘employment law’ (as opposed to ‘labour law’) is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Labels may not be conclusive,1 but this one reflects the increasing focus on the individual rather than the collective. There has been a marked shift from the idea of the law supporting the orderly conduct of collective bargaining towards employment rights for the individual worker. The legislation of the 1980s and 1990s was explicitly intended to redress the perceived imbalance of power acquired by trade unions under the laws granting them immunities in respect of industrial action and those allowing them control over membership and expulsion but statute also granted specific rights to members within the unions for the sole purpose of controlling the conduct of the union.2