The General Strike 1926

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Map Code: Ax01831

On 3 May 1926, in response to a reduction in wages and an increase in working for hours for miners that had already led to disputes and one million miners being locked out of the mines, the Trades Union Congress (TUC ) called a strike. Out of solidarity with the miners, workers from many other industries stayed off work, from rail and bus employees to those from the gas, electrical, building and steel industries. On the first day, 1.5–1.75 million workers went on strike, crippling transport and infrastructure, leading to violence and unrest. Strikers even managed to derail the Flying Scotsman. Volunteers and the armed forces attempted to get things moving; thousands of special constables were out on the streets, where they clashed with striking workers, and a warship was even dispatched to Newcastle – condemned as a draconian over-reaction, despite prime minister Stanley Baldwin’s personal broadcasts addressing the nation, in which he presented himself as “a man of peace”. After nine days, the TUC conducted secret deals with the mine-owners and called off the strike. The majority of miners went back to work under new, unfavourable conditions, although some remained unemployed for many years.

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