Trade Disputes Act (1906)

Trade Disputes Act (1906)

The Trade Disputes Act of 1906 enshrined into law the rights of unions to strike. The Liberal Government of Campbell-Bannerman was responding to a number of legal cases surrounding strikes and unrest among workers unions.

The Trade Disputes Act was introduced by the Liberals shortly after their election, with a large majority, in 1906. Initially the act set out to prevent unions being held responsible for any financial losses incurred by a strike. However, this version of the Bill was replaced by a more wide reaching one.

Criticised by the opposition and some members of the Liberal Cabinet, the bill was passed. The Bill changed the way in which industrial disputes are handled. It enabled collective bargaining and to all intents and purposes made the option to strike a right of organised trade unions.


Trade Unionism – from the National Archives website

Institute of Employment Rights


Liberal Reforms - Homepage
Trade Disputes Act 1906Workmens Compensation Act 1906Merchant Shipping Act 1906
Education (Provision of Meals) Act 1906Education (Administrative Provisions) Act 1907Matrimonial Causes Act 1907
Coal Mines Regulation Act 1908Children's and Young Persons Act (Children's Charter) 1908Old Age Pensions Act 1908
Labour Exchange Act 1909Trade Board Act 1909Housing and Town Planning Act 1909
National Insurance Act 1911Shops Act 1911Coal Mines (Minimum Wage) Act 1912