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History of labour law Labour law arose in parallel with the Industrial Revolution as the relationship between worker and employer changed from small-scale production studios to large-scale factories. Workers sought better conditions and the right to join or avoid joining a labour unionwhile employers sought a more predictable, Public international law study notes essay and less costly workforce.
The state of labour law at any one time is therefore both the product of, and a component of struggles between various social forces. As England was the first country to industrialise, it was also the first to face the often appalling consequences of industrial revolution in a less regulated economic framework.
Over the course of the late 18th and early to midth century the foundation for modern labour law was slowly laid, as some of the more egregious aspects of working conditions were steadily ameliorated through legislation.
This was largely achieved through the concerted pressure from social reformersnotably Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesburyand others. Child labour[ edit ] A serious outbreak of fever in in cotton mills near Manchester drew widespread public opinion against the use of children in dangerous conditions.
This was the first, albeit modest, step towards the protection of labour. The act limited working hours to twelve a day and abolished night work. It required the provision of a basic level of education for all apprentices, as well as adequate sleeping accommodation and clothing.
The rapid industrialisation of manufacturing at the turn of the 19th century led to a rapid increase in child employment, and public opinion was steadily made aware of the terrible conditions these children were forced to endure.
The Factory Act of was the outcome of the efforts of the industrialist Robert Owen and prohibited child labour under nine years of age and limited the working day to twelve. A great milestone in labour law was reached with the Factory Act ofwhich limited the employment of children under eighteen years of age, prohibited all night work and, crucially, provided for inspectors to enforce the law.
Pivotal in the campaigning for and the securing of this legislation were Michael Sadler and the Earl of Shaftesbury. This act was an important step forward, in that it mandated skilled inspection of workplaces and a rigorous enforcement of the law by an independent governmental body. A lengthy campaign to limit the working day to ten hours was led by Shaftesbury, and included support from the Anglican Church.
From the midth century, attention was first paid to the plight of working conditions for the workforce in general. Insystematic reporting of fatal accidents was made compulsory, and basic safeguards for health, life and limb in the mines were put in place from Further regulations, relating to ventilation, fencing of disused shafts, signalling standards, and proper gauges and valves for steam-boilers and related machinery were also set down.
A series of further Acts, in and extended the legal provisions and strengthened safety provisions. Steady development of the coal industry, increasing association among miners, and increased scientific knowledge paved the way for the Coal Mines Act ofwhich extended the legislation to similar industries.
The same Act included the first comprehensive code of regulation to govern legal safeguards for health, life and limb. The presence of a more certified and competent management and increased levels of inspection were also provided for.
By the end of the century, a comprehensive set of regulations was in place in England that affected all industries. A similar system with certain national differences was implemented in other industrializing countries in the latter part of the 19th century and the early 20th century.
Individual labour law[ edit ] Main articles: Employment contract and At-will employment The basic feature of labour law in almost every country is that the rights and obligations of the worker and the employer are mediated through a contract of employment between the two.
This has been the case since the collapse of feudalism. Many contract terms and conditions are covered by legislation or common law. In the US for example, the majority of state laws allow for employment to be "at will"meaning the employer can terminate an employee from a position for any reason, so long as the reason is not explicitly prohibited, [a] and, conversely, an employee may quit at any time, for any reason or for no reasonand is not required to give notice.
One example of employment terms in many countries  is the duty to provide written particulars of employment with the essentialia negotii Latin for "essential terms" to an employee. This aims to allow the employee to know concretely what to expect and what is expected.
It covers items including compensationholiday and illness rightsnotice in the event of dismissal and job description. The contract is subject to various legal provisions.Labour law (also known as labor law or employment law) mediates the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions and the government.
Collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Individual labour law concerns employees' rights at work and through the contract for work.
Employment standards are social norms (in some cases. Law at Cambridge. Although our course (referred to elsewhere as LLB) is primarily concerned with English law, there are opportunities to study other legal systems, including civil (Roman) law, EU law and international law.
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