Unions developed as means of redressing the imbalance of power between workers and employers, whereas workers had virtually no power as individuals, through a collective organization their influence was considerably increased. Trade unions occurred in the capitalist system because of the polarity of social classes and social stratification, which consisted of those whom own the means of production and the labours (Giddens, 2006:754). All this exploitation resulted in social inequality which made people aware of social consciousness.
The working class, an objective class i.e. a class in itself of capitalism, is impelled by the circumstances of its existence to resist the strength of capital through combinations. As long as the ruling class has the power and the politico economic motivation to deny them legality, such combinations attain only an episodic mass existence and normally take the form of a conspiracy. In these circumstances terror is a weapon of the economic struggle, for example the outrages of nineteenth century trade unionism directed against blacklegs, and various other forms of economic sabotage (Hymen,1971:7 ).
The conquest of legality is a vital condition for the establishment of permanent organs of economic struggle for trade unions proper. Marx and Engels regarded trade unions as a vital first step for the working class in becoming not merely a class in itself but a class for itself, conscious of its needs and aims. Engels in, ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’ coined the phrase which communists have, ever since, applied to the unions, “...as schools of war, the unions are unexcelled”. Strikes he referred to as, “the military school of the working men” (Hymen,1971:6 ).
Thus trade unions then represent the first, most direct attempt by workers to negate the attacks of capital on their most immediate interests. Their essence, combination and solidarity is the negate the tendency of capital to impoverish and atomise the working class....