Causes of Industrial Unrest 1900-14

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  • Created by: Pip Dan
  • Created on: 01-06-16 22:45

Causes of Industrial Unrest 1900-14

Towards the end of the 1890s, a period of falling prices had given way to inflation, and, under the Liberals, the economy began to expand again. By 1911, unemployment had fallen to 3 per cent. So why was there so much discontent on the industrial front?

·         The 1906 Trades Disputes Act removed the restraint that unions were legally liable for costs incurred to their employers as a result of a strike, and the accumulated grievances of working people combined to prompt widespread industrial action.

·         Many unions amalgamate into federations such as the Miners Federation. This gave them more power and gave any stoppages a much greater impact.

·         Industrial workers had looked to the Labour Party to right their wrongs. In this they were disappointed and there were several reasons for this:

o    Labour MPs in Parliament were a small group. Only 42 Labour MPs remained after the two  elections of 1910 and, lacking parliamentary experience, their influence on the Liberal government was slight.

o    After 1910 the Labour Party (led by Ramsay MacDonald) found itself supporting Liberal legislation rather than initiating reforms that would help the working class.

o    The Osborne Judgement of 1909 meant that the Labour Party was chronically underfunded, even though the payment of salaries (£400 per…


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