It is quite true that conditions in the workplace have improved enormously. However, it would be wrong to think that laws designed to protect the interests of working people were placed on the statute book simply as part of our nation’s economic progress.
The fact is that virtually all the measures that have improved our working lives came about as a result of campaigning both industrially and politically. Furthermore, the majority of these gains were obtained after years of vociferous opposition from many politicians and employers.
We owe thousands of former trade unionists a great debt of gratitude for their efforts, but perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from history is that nothing is safe from political change. Working conditions, liberty, freedom of association and many of our other gains can be taken away. Never forget the "Thatcher era" and the anti-union policies that remained under Labour.
Today, we now face a further threat from the Con-Dem Government. It really is important to be a member of a trade union and to participate in its affairs.