It was one of the biggest struggles between government and trade unions in Britain in 1926
2.5 million workers including miners joined a nine day strike
The build up
The main cause of the general strike was tensions in the mining industry at the time due to tensions between mine owners and miners unions. Bosses cut wages and increased working hours. Miners rebelled with strikes. Government supported bosses.
Strikes were organised by unions. The TIA was formed by the 3 main unions (miners, transport, railway men). This made them very powerful. They all agreed to strike together until all three unions made progress.
The war meant that focus form govt was on war effort and coal was essential for this. The government took control of mine, paying workers directly.
After the war miners were paid well and given high status. But this was short lived as the government gave back control to owners. The owners again, cut wages and increased working hours. TIA called a strike, however leader of transport refused to act on the day, this became known as Black Friday. The strike failed. The Conservative govt. were forced to subsidise the wage cuts- this became known as Red Friday.
The Samuel Commission report was set up to investigate the mining problems. Owners said that when subsidy was over, they would reduce wages by 10% and increase working day from 7-8 hours. The Samuel Commissions said that miners should agree to wage cuts but oppose longer hours. Mine owners rejected recommendations. Mine unions said, “Not a penny off the pay, not a minute of the day”.
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