Britain - What were the causes and the consequences of the General Strike of 1926?

Essay by muadmzCollege, Undergraduate May 2004

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In 1919 the government set up the Sankey Commission to decide what should be done with the coal mines. It was recommended by the Commission that the coal mines should be nationalisation, keeping the mines under the control of the government. The problem at this point was that the government was dominated by Conservatives and in 1921 they decided to give the mines back to their previous owners.

The price of coal had gone down dramatically by fifty percent and Britain was now able to import cheap coal from Germany and Poland. As a result of this, soon the coal mine owners announced an immediate cut in the workers wages and in retaliation to the owners' decision, the miners called on the Triple Alliance to give their support for a strike. The strike was organised for Friday, the 15th April 1921. , but at the last moment the so called Triple Alliance' fell to pieces, sold out by the leaders of the Transport Workers and Railway Union.

This blow to the miners was named 'Black Friday'.

The miners were left to fight alone against the government's plans to privatise the mines. As a result the mines suddenly returned back to their private owners and the miners faced demands for very substantial wage cuts of up to fifty percent. The dispute escalated as the crises was seen by all the key players (government, employers and the TUC) as an example for future industrial relations in Britain. The Trade Union movement saw its opportunity to show the government that the wage reductions could not solve Britain's economical difficulties and decided that a future united action in support of the miners would take the form of a general strike. In 1925 when the employers attempted to impose yet another round of wage...