Monday, 20 June 2011
With the threat of industrial action now looming across the country, here is an interesting article from the BBC about the General Strike of 1926. On 4 May 1926, 1.75 million people refused to work, largely in solidarity with 1 million coal miners who had been locked out of work over a dispute over pay. The strikers included transport workers, dock workers, gas, electric, iron and steel workers. The strike took place during an economically difficult decade, shortly after the end of the first world war and during concerns that communism could increase its influence following the successful revolution in Russia. The army were called in to protect food lorries, and fights broke out between strikers and police. Many people became volunteers in order to keep the country moving. 9 days later the TUC called off the strike, to the surprise of many, with few conditions met. Stanley Baldwin, the Prime Minister, introduced the Trades Disputes Act, whic prevented sympathy striking, as a response to this. It was repealed several years later, but was then reintroduced by Mrs Thatcher, and remains in force today.
You can read more about the strike here (BBC Bitesize), here (Wikipedia) and here (National Archives) and watch YouTube footage here.