Once upon a time labour unions were a powerful (and often negative) force in British society.
But then in the 1980s and 1990s, the British Conservative government introduced a series of reforms which both democratized the workforce and defanged the union bosses.
Consequently trade union membership in Britain has declined and not so coincidently, Britain has become one of the top economies in Europe.
So says, Professor Len Shackleton, one of Britain’s foremost experts on the relationship between labour law and the economy, who was speaking yesterday at an event jointly sponsored by the Fraser Institute, LabourWatch and the National Citizens Coalition.
Shackleton also says Canada lags behind the rest of the Western world when it comes to protecting the individual freedoms of unionized employees.
For instance, he says in Canada, unlike in Britain, employees are forced to pay dues even if they don’t belong to the union; also in Canada, unlike in Britain, employees can be punished for crossing a picket line.
Isn’t it about time we caught up?
Professor Shackleton’s Canadian tour continues – he will be in Calgary tonight and in Vancouver tomorrow.