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Workmen's Compensation Act

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This Act, passed by Lord Salisbury's government, was a significant step in establishing employers' liability. The foundation of the Trades Union Congress in 1868 saw increased pressure for compensation for accidents at work, and in 1876 a select committee was set up, under the chairmanship of Robert Lowe. It resulted in an Act of 1880 which offered up to three years' wages in damages if the employer or an authorized superintendent had been negligent. In the 1890s Joseph Chamberlain campaigned for compensation ‘irrespective of the cause of accident’ and, though colonial secretary, was largely responsible for the Act of 1897, which established that an employee was entitled to compensation for any accident not his own fault, even if there was no negligence on the part of the employer.

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