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When union first started they were there to protect the ordinary worker. Paymasters frequently under paid and over worked people whilst there working condition were less than even the minimal safe environments. Unions fought for specific rights of workers including safe working conditions, holiday payments, compensation for injuries or death of a worker and formed national coalitions where differing unions supported those who were force to retract their labour (strike). Some Governments have fought even in the past 30 years to break strong unions because they have seen that the rank and file were taking control of industries and causing large scale disruption. An example of this was the UK in the early 1980s when the then Conservative government lead by one Margret Thatcher force the closure of many of the countries coal mines stating they were not financially viable. The Unions fought and the government closed the pits. Now 30 years later there is a huge demand for the coal again and the UK is having too import 80% of its usage because the mines that were closed despite unions fighting to keep them trading and warning that a closed colliery would be incredibly expensive to reopen possibly impossible financially to reopen due to the damage cause by erosion are now being looked at be yet another conservative government.

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Q: Why didn't the government like unions?
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