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Secondary II • 2yr.


Can someone explain to me what the labor movement is?

Thank you ! :)


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Explanations (1)

  • Explanation from Alloprof

    Explanation from Alloprof

    This Explanation was submitted by a member of the Alloprof team.

    Team Alloprof • 2yr.


    Thank you for your question! :)

    The creation of the labor movement takes place following the formation of a new social class in the cities of Great Britain: the working class. The working class is made up of workers who work in factories, generally in poor working conditions.

    Indeed, the entrepreneurs (the bourgeois) who own the factories want to maximize their profits. They then reduce the wages of workers to a minimum, because they are poorly trained and easily replaced. In addition, they require workers to work several hours a day (sometimes even up to 16 hours a day) in noisy and dangerous conditions.

    The workers will eventually mobilize and demand better employment conditions from their employers by manifesting and going on strikes. However, the employers systematically refuse to improve the working conditions of the workers, because their demands represent additional production costs, which would reduce the profits of the employers.

    Governments, influenced by the current thought of economic liberalism refuse to intervene, considering that state intervention would harm the economy. The strikes were, however, illegal and repressed.

    For things to change, the workers will have to put pressure on the governments of the time. The Socialist Party iis then created, forcing the government to adopt social laws in order to stay in power. Social laws will limit the number of working hours per day, give workers the right to unionize, set a minimum wage, prohibit the work of children under a certain age to work in factories considered dangerous, etc.

    If the subject interests you and that you are 13+ years old, the film Peterloo chronicles the events surrounding the workers' demands as well as the divergent points of view of the bourgeoisie (employers and factory owners) which led to the Peterloo massacre in Manchester on the 16th August 1819. Although it is fictionalized, the film attempts to represent as faithfully as possible the sad events surrounding the reprimand of the workers' demands of the time. However, the film is very long (154 minutes)!

    I hope that answers your question. Do not hesitate to write to us again if you have others! :)

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