general strike

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general strike (May 4–12, 1926) Nationwide strike in Britain involving c.3 million members of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). It was called in support of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the members of which had been locked out of the mines after refusing to accept a reduction in pay and an increase in working hours. Stanley Baldwin's government employed special constables and volunteers to run essential services and issued an anti-strike propaganda journal, The British Gazette. The TUC called off the strike and the Trade Union Act (1927) restricted trade union rights.

General Strike

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General Strike, 1926. The strike arose from the problems of the coal industry. Miners were locked out on 30 April; the TUC negotiated with the government, but Baldwin's administration precipitated the strike by breaking off negotiations when the printers at the Daily Mail refused to print a leading article. The strike began at midnight on 3 May, with workers in printing, transport, iron and steel, gas, electricity, and building being called out first. A second group of unions, including engineers and shipbuilders, joined the strike on 11 May; about 2,500,000 workers in total were involved. The strike failed because of government preparations which enabled essential supplies and services to be delivered; many, hostile to the unions, were prepared to assist in breaking the strike; the government won the propaganda battle. After nine days the strike was called off, although the miners remained out for many months in the winter of 1926–7.

John Butt

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general strike