The Day Of The General Strike

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At the time of the general strike at midnight on the 3rd of May 1926, you had a conservative government in power lead by Stanley Baldwin which lasted from 1924 to 1929. He led a government looking for peace and compromise. He wanted international conciliation and yearned for industrial conciliation at home. However, throughout the 1920’s, after a successful war period which saw overproduction in iron, steel, shipbuilding, coal and textile industries, these products were now not needed in such quantities, leading to a spiralling inflation and major fall in exports and profits. This fall in profits led to lower wages and longer hours, which hit the coal workers the hardest. Working conditions worsened and more people were dying every day down in the mines, with the peak being 4 miners dying a day. The General Strike of 1926, which started because of the coal miner’s disgust at their treatment, would bring in 2 million workers and bring society to a stand still for 10 days while the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the miners and owners and finally the government battle it out. Each of the different groups had a part in the initial cause of the general strike and also the continuation of the general strike, but it was the TUC and the trade unions that had the most important cause in the General strike. In 1926, the Trade Union congress was led by the General Secretary James Henry Thomas, who was asked by the TUC to negotiate with Baldwin’s Government. These talks prove unsuccessful in the end, with the strike going ahead as planned. The impact of this is that it was the final straw which led to the strike but it wasn’t the main reason as to why the TUC had the biggest fault in the General Strike. Another reason is Black Friday, which was... ... middle of paper ... is one of the reasons as to why they held the strikes in 1926. The self-interest of the workers, along with the falling economy, made up the long term factor which led to the cause of the general strike. The short term factor can be linked with the effects of Britain’s re-instatement to the Gold Standard, which ultimately had an effect on everything. In conclusion, each group had their own actions which were to blame for the cause of the General Strike in 1926 with the Miners being poor pay and working conditions, the Governments handing of the economy and the Trade Union Congress’s refusal of the Samuel Report. However, the most important factor would be the TUC’s sympathetic support for the miners following the Black Friday event. Had they TUC not backed the miners, then they would’ve never gained the support they needed to even challenge Baldwin’s government.
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