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General Strike - Diary 12th May

12th May 1926

 

the organisation against it grows day by day
The Daily Express, 12th May 1926.

Announced in the Daily Express, their headline was bold and confident that a resolution to the strike was forthcoming, and that the back of the strike had now been broken. However, military personnel could still be seen in force on the streets, and Virginia Woolf noted that in central London she had seen,

5 or 6 armoured cars slowly going along Oxford Street; on each two soldiers sat in tin helmets, & one stood with his hand at the gun which was pointed straight ahead ready to fire.
Diary of Virginia Woolf, 12th May 1926

Samuel continued to push a resolution to the strike, which now included details of final wage negotiations that had been included to aid as an inducement to the miners. The General Council of the TUC had now decided they were calling off the strike, and intended to inform the Prime Minister at 12pm. They hoped to finally persuade the miners of the need to negotiate a resolution. Bevin now called on the miners to show solidarity with their union brothers, and join the end of the strike action. He foresaw a rift in the union movement if the miners determined to continue alone.

After further deliberation, and with the TUC waiting to inform the Prime Minister of their decision, the miners rejected the call for solidarity amongst the unions. They believed that the TUC had always been at the beck and call of the government, and that there was still a strong desire for strike action amongst the rank and file members. They informed the press that they had rejected the Samuel memorandum, thereby swiftly undermining the TUC's hopes for concessions from the government. The TUC maintained its position, however, and announced to the Prime Minister and the country that the General Strike was to be terminated forthwith. The strike action was over for the majority, and the country began the slow process of returning to normal.

However, for the miners the strike was not yet over. They continued their action for many months to come, many until October and November 1926, but the end result was not as hoped. Many were forced to return to work because of hunger, cold, and other privations. Those that retained employment were forced to accept cuts in wages, and ultimately longer hours as well. They felt nothing had been achieved by the long days of strike action.