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Aftermath of the General Strike

After the strike

[From the Daily GraphicLink opens in a new window, 15 May 1926]

Chaos and confusion"

Strike fortnight : A diary of the principal events and phases of the strikeLink opens in a new window, 1926

  • 13 May 1926: 'The British Gazette'Link opens in a new window claims that there has been an "unconditional surrender" by the strikers. Many employers state that they will only reinstate striking workers if they agree to revised (worse) employment conditions. Workers resume the strike and more are on strike than on any previous day.
  • 14 May 1926: The Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin sends proposals to the miners and coalowners which are less favourable to the miners than the Samuel memorandum. The railway unions accept terms of reinstatement proposed by the railway companies which include the statement “that in calling a strike they committed a wrongful act”.
  • 15-18 May 1926: Various agreements are made for resumption of work. There is widespread victimisation of strikers.
  • 20 May 1926: The Miners’ Delegate Conference rejects the Prime Minister's proposals. In the Hammersmith North parliamentary by-election, the Labour Party gain the seat from the Conservatives.
  • 21 May 1926: The coalowners reject the Prime Minister's proposals.
  • 25 May 1926: The government is reported to be arranging for import of foreign coal.
  • 8 June 1926: A conference between the miners and coalowners ends in deadlock.
  • 21 June 1926: A Bill to suspend the miners’ Seven Hours Act for 5 years and permitting a return to an eight hour working day is introduced into the House of Commons with the support of the coalowners.
  • 5 July 1926: Coalowners post notices of new terms of employment, based on an eight hour working day for miners.
  • 15 July 1926: The Miners' Federation of Great Britain requests the Trades Union Congress General Council to impose an embargo on movements of coal. The General Council refuses but undertakes to provide financial support for locked out miners.
  • 17 Aug 1926: The Miners' Federation of Great Britain Delegate Conference empowers the union executive to reopen negotiations with coalowners and government without prior conditions.
  • 19 Aug 1926: Meeting between miners and coalowners ends in deadlock, as coalowners make it clear they will only accept unconditional surrender.
  • 26 Aug 1926: Miners' representatives meet with members of the government, including Winston Churchill, and are told that there will be no further subsidy for the coal industry.
  • 27-30 November 1926: Miners return to work to lower pay and longer hours. Total defeat.
  • 20-21 January 1927: A conference of trade union executives is convened to review the general strike. The Trades Union Congress blames the miners for not accepting the Samuel memorandum.
  • 1927: The Trades Disputes and Trade Union Act makes all sympathetic strikes and mass picketing illegal, forbids the trade unions’ political levy, civil service unions to affiliate to the Trades Union Congress, and local authority workers from breaking their terms of contract (on pain of imprisonment).

Selected sources:

See all digitised sources from the strike aftermathLink opens in a new window