Trade Union Movement in Britain, history of the trade union movement in Britain, and its relationship to and with government, from its origins to the present day. Trade unionism in Britain is notably older than in other European countries, stretching back at least to the start of the 18th century and quite probably earlier in a few skilled trades such as printing. Hence it pre-dates the Industrial Revolution. In Britain, trade unionism was much stronger than elsewhere until the end of the 19th century, when German trade unionism caught up in terms of size, although not in terms of acceptance by employers and the state. Unlike Germany, where membership of an independent socialist party—the Social Democratic Party of Germany—was bigger than the trade unions, in Britain the trade union movement was big and there was no sizeable independent working class political party until 1900.