? rights have been violated repeatedly – the development of appropriate employment policies has been often considered to be costly or time consuming. However, in the theoretical and empirical research it has been proved that the role of employees is of crucial importance for the development of business performance; for this reason the protection of employees’ rights would be a priority for HR departments of modern organizations. Current paper focuses on the decline of trade unions membership in Britain during 1979; reference is also made on the challenges faced by trade unions in the context of current recession and their prospects in the future. Relevant theoretical and empirical studies have been employed and critically analysed; it is proved that the status of trade union memberships in 1979 can be interpreted in two different approaches: the decrease in the number of male workers during that period was combined with the increase of the number of women and workers of other categories joining the trade unions – therefore, the performance of trade unions during that period could be characterized as being differentiated from the past; in other words, the structure of unions might changed but their power to influence the political decisions in Britain remained strong.
The position of trade unions in Britain has changed through the decades in accordance with the social and cultural ethics but also the political system of the country; in their first appearance – in the 18th century – trade unions were not accepted by the law – the participation in the specific organizations was considered as crime and it was punished accordingly (Hollowell, 2003); however, after their incorporation in the country’s social life – being accepted by the law at 1825 – trade unions started to involve actively in various issues developed in the workplace. It should be noted at this point that up today it has not been possible to identify the exact level at which the