General Strike 1926 (Causes (Triple Alliance (6m workers suffered wage…
General Strike 1926
First World War
Rich seams of coal depleted, exported less coal in war, other countries fill the gap
Output per man fell to 199 tonnes in 1920-4, from 247 tonnes and 310 in early 1880s
Fall in coal prices
The Dawes Plan (1924) allowed Germany to re-enter international coal market by exporting free-coal
Reintroduction of gold standard
British pound too strong for effective exporting, raised interest rates, exports became more expensive
Mine owners wanted to maintain profits, miners pay fell from £6.00 to £3.90 between 7 years
Arthur James Cook
Socialist from London, against WWI and for Russian Rev., Great orater, elected leader of South Wales Miners' Federation
6m workers suffered wage cuts, membership fell from 8.3m to 5.6m between 1920 and 1922.
31 March 1921 - Miners refused to join sympathetic strike
1920 - Miners revived Triple Alliance, where the miners, railway and transport workers. They won a strike in Oct 1920
Red Friday 1925
Gov. created Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies and began stockpiling coal, resources, and links with road haulage firms
June 1925 - Mineowners decided to cut wages by 10%, Subsidy announced on 31st Jul 1925
The Samuel Commission
Recommend: Amalgamation of smaller mines, end of government subsidies, national wage agreements, no increase in hours, and reduction of wages by 10%.
March 1926 - Report produced by Sir Herbert Samuel
Tuesday 4th May
Road transport, bus, rail, dock, printing, gas and electricity, building, iron, steel, chemicals and coal workers stayed off work
Mineowners wanted to reduce wages by 13% and increase shift hours 7 to 8 hours
TUC called a general strike to support miners
Thursday 6th May
Pedestrian killed by volunteer bus driver
PM Baldwin declares strike an attack on democracy
Middle-class volunteers get some buses, trains and electricity working
Friday 7th May
TUC embarrased when they refuse donations from Russian trade unionists
Seizes all supplies of paper, hindering TUC's "The British Worker"
Police and striker clashes in Liverpool, Hull and London.
Saturday 8th May
Large haulage companies escorted by armoured cars,
Volunteer numbers increase, distribution of food began to work
Baton-charges on rioting strikers in Glasgow, Hull, Middlesborough, Newcastle and Preston
Wednesday 5th May
Warship sent to Newcastle, recruitment of 226,000 special policemen
BoE refused Churchill's request freeze all trade union accounts
Gov. acts aggressively against strike and tries to exert control in media, published British Gazette
Sunday 9th May
The Roman Catholic Church even declares the strike 'a sin'.
Monday 10th May
PM declares Britain is threatened with revolution and arrests 374 communists
Flying Scotsman derail train
Some textile workers join the strike
Tuesday 11th May
Thomas meets in No. 10, delayed outside, drifted back to work
TUC led by JH Thomas calls off strike
Labour Party won 1929 GE
Trades Disputes Act (1927) made general strikes illegal.
Miner's Federation numbers fell 1,366 to 724 between 1927-28. This wasn't due to low unemployment but men were forced to leave the union
Bad things from the end of the strike were flooding of coalfields, mass arrest, discrimination against miners and revenge of judges, magistrates and press
Wages negotiated by Cook in new "district agreements"
Many history books say that "the miners struggled on for 7 months to inevitable defeat".
TUC ruined, membership fell from 5.5m to 3.75m between 1925-30
Return to Work
George Spencer MP, negotiated miners to return to work and form a breakaway union. Reputation for "Spencerism"
September 1926 - Miner's Federation ordered regional leaders to get best deals
TUC had taken first opportunity to surrender
End of Strike
TUC agreed to call off strike WITHOUT receiving any committment of Samuel Memorandum
TUC instructed unions to end strike on 12th May
Denied as a challenge to gov.