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General Strike - Diary of Events

General Strike - Diary of Events

This overview of the days of the General Strike, 3rd May to 12th May 1926, is offered as a brief introduction to the causes, events, and outcomes of this turbulent period. It is included here as supporting contextual material for the creation of the Initial Holograph Draft. As such, it is not meant as a definitive historical account of this fascinating period. For a more detailed analysis of this period please consult 'A Very British Strike' by Anne Perkins or another specific work on the General Strike.

Overview

The British General Strike began on 3rd May 1926, and ended on 12th May 1926. Ten days of strike action that were to change the very nature of work relations in the country for years to come.

The strike was called by the Trades Union Congress (T.U.C.) on 1st May 1926, with action to begin on 3rd May 1926. It was precipitated in support of striking coal miners in the North of England, Scotland and Wales. The strike action was perceived as necessary to ensure current and future pay and work conditions would remain acceptable to the industry. In reality, it was the latest in a long series of industrial disputes that had crippled the coal industry since the end of the First World War, creating real hardship for mining families, and continuing political unrest and uncertainty for numerous governments. 'Not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay', was the miners' slogan as they marched headlong in to Britain's one and only General Strike.

Despite commencing in the mining towns and Unions of the country, one of the flash points for the strike itself occurred in London, when the Daily Mail's Fleet Street printers refused to print a leading article criticising trade unions. Subsequently, other print workers joined the protest and the General Strike started to gain momentum. The TUC activated its strike plans, calling out all union members in essential industries. The strike had begun.