General strike

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TIA : Triple Industrial Alliance

  • Included 3 unions : Railway workers, miners and transport workers 
  • The TIA was set up so the 3 unions would strike together and not settle till all 3 unions had obtained satisfactory agreements 

Union : workers that seek better allowance and pay 

  • On Friday 15th April 1921, the TIA was broken. On the day of the strike the railway union dropped out. This was known as Black Friday 
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Early problems

Coal was a major part in world war one. It nationalised the industry so was therefore put under government control. This meant government paid miners directly.

However, after the war, mines were returned to private owners. This meant the miners were working for more hours but were paid less money. This was the cause of the general strike, as well as safety issues.


  • A 9 month subsidy was given
  • Samuel Commission
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Government Reactions and Samuel Commission

Government Reactions

The government gave out a 9 month subsidy to private owners. This meant that the government paid some of the miners wages to give them a better wage. This was known as Red Friday.

Samuel Commission

It was set up to investigate problems. The Samuel Commission opposed extra working hours - but said miners should accept some wage cuts.

However the mine owners rejected, as well as the miners themselves. Miners said 

'Not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay.' 

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Actions of the Government

  • Country was divided into reigons and communication networks formed
  • Resources were stockpiled in case the strike happened 
  • An independent organisation was set up in September 1925 for maintenance of supplies
  • Access to media during the strike was orgainised meaning the government controls what the public sees and reads
  • Government used 1920s emergency powers act to recruit police
  • Plans were made for armed forces to maintain supplies
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Actions of the TUC

  • Tried to prevent the strike by urging miners not to strike
  • They put pressure on miners to accept their wage cuts of up to 13% that were reccommended by the Samuel Commission
  • In the 6 weeks running up to the General Strike, the TUC made an effort to find a compromise

TUC : Trade Union Congress - an organisation that represents all unions

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Why the strike failed

  • No support of the miners from the TUC
  • No unity
  • Shrinking importance of coal
  • Anti-media
  • Government response

Eventually the TUC called off the strike after just 9 days. The strikers went back to work.

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Keywords of the General Strike

  • Strike : When workers refuse to work till their voice is heard
  • Subsidy : Government topping off wages
  • General strike : Workers from multiplie industries striking as one
  • Nationalised : Industry controlled by government
  • TIA : Miners, transport and railway workers
  • Black Friday : Railway union back out of strike
  • Red Friday : 9 month subsidy of wages agreed
  • Union : Workers group seeking better conditions and pay
  • Commission : Belief everyone in society should be equal - sharing wealth between all citizens
  • TUC : Trade Union Congress - Orgainisation representing all unions. Voice of workers
  • Trade Disputes Act 1927 :  Made all general and sympathy strikes illegal 
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