1945 Labour – Clement Attlee 1951 Conservative – Winston Churchill, and others including Harold Macmillan 1964 Labour – Harold Wilson 1970 Conservative –Edward Heath 1974 Labour –Harold Wilson The governments of the long boom
Since 1979, anti-union laws make it harder to strike (solidarity strikes illegal, many forms of picketing illegal, postal votes obligatory) Throughout the 1980s, union membership declined rapidly : due to a combination of government hostility towards the unions and de- industrialisation. The 1984-5 miners strike was a key defeat for the trade union movement. A slow recovery may be seen after 1995. 1979-1997 Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major : difficult times for trade unionists
1997-2010 : the Labour governments under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown Some reforms make union recognition easier. If 40% of employees in a firm vote in favour, the employer must negotiate with the union A minimum wage was introduced for the first time BUT The Labour government endorsed the concept of labour flexibility. New Labour was keen to keep the unions at arms length.
Margaret Thatchers slogan had been « no more beer and sandwiches at number ten. » Tony Blairs slogan concerning the unions was « fairness but no favours ». David Cameron warned union leaders 'Don't try taking me on'
2010-2011 Coalition government under David Cameron 2011 has seen some of the biggest public sector strikes for many years
On the 30th November 2011, there may be millions of people on strike over pensions.