Events of the General Strike 1926


Initial Events of the Strike

-May 3rd 1926, Daily Mail printers refused to print an article claiming that GS would lead to rev action (whipped up by WC?). Therefore, SB refused to take part in any more negotiations

-4th May, stirke begins.. 1 mil workers already on strike, joined by railwaymen, dockers, road transport workers, printers and gas and electricity workers. Engineering and shipbuilding wrokers joined strike 1 week later. total = 80 unions affected + 2.5 million men and women on strike IN ADDITION to the miners

-No universal response to strike, some aspects of country barely affected. But, most complete stoppage in British history.

-TUC did not call for universal strike. TUC pursued moderate policies, minimising inconvenience to public.

-Strikers advised to stay at home/ dig garden

-Donation of 2 million roubles from Russian TUs refused

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Ending of the Strike

-Government's contingency plan worked well. Lucky because weather was mild, stocks of coal lasted. No shortage of middle-class volunteers- uni students who assisted troops

-Herbert Samuel offered to act as Mediator (produced Samuel Memorandum proposed in the future disputes should be referred to National Wages Board), TUC feared that Strike would fail + assest would be seized, back down. Jumped at change to renew negotiations despite the fact that miners leaders refused.

-General Strike called off on 12th May- lasted 9 days. Miners FURIOUS continued strike alone for another 7 months.

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Post end of official strike

-Miners drifted back to work in July and Aug 1926, forced due to hunger and poverty. Most miners returned to longer hours (8hours usually) and pay cut by an average of 13%. EVERY MINER RETURNED TO WORK ON LONGER HOURS + LOWER WAGES

-Gov said : “His Majesty’s government have no power to compel employers to take back every man who has been on strike…” Most employers took this mean that they were free to re-employ strikers on lower wages, e.g. London Transport sacked many bus drivers, London County Council gave strikers lower-paid jobs, and the Admiralty too between two to four years’ pension off workers.

-TUC failed strikers by refusing to negotiate with gov as united body. Telegrams sent out after cancellation of strike instructed each union to make its own arrangements. Workers FURIOUS w/ TUC. 24 hours after strike officially ended strikers actually increased by 100,000. TUC as rep body largely discredited.



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