General Strike of 1926 in Great Britain

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

General Strike of 1926 in Great Britain

 

the largest strike in the history of Britain’s workers’ movement, involving more than 5 million workers. It was provoked by employers and the government, who were trying to crush the most militant section of the English working class—the miners—and carry out “production streamlining” in the coal industry at the expense of the workers. At the end of April the mine owners announced that on May 1 a lockout would begin in the coal industry if the miners did not accept the terms offered them, including lower wages and a longer work day. A conference of the executive committees of the trade unions on May 1 called the workers to a general strike. A state of emergency was declared in the country. Contrary to the intentions of the leaders of the general council of the British Trade Union Congress to prevent the outbreak of a general strike, on the night of May 3 about 3 million workers went on strike, including miners, transport workers, printers, metallurgists, and chemical industry workers. The strike gradually took on a more clearly expressed political character. In these circumstances the Communist Party presented demands that corresponded to the scope of the revolutionary struggle. The party’s demands included nationalization of the mines without compensation to the mine owners, control by the workers, resignation of the Baldwin government, and creation of a workers’ government. On May 11, the day the High Court declared the strike illegal, new groups joined the strike, including machine builders and shipbuilders. The leadership of the general council, fearing further growth of the struggle, called off the strike on May 12. The miners continued the struggle until November 30. The general strike of 1926 gave rise to a broad movement for solidarity of the world’s working class.

REFERENCES

Gurovich, P. V. Vseobshchaia stachka v Anglii 1926 g. Moscow, 1959.
Murray, J. Vseobshchaia stachka 1926 g. v Anglii. Moscow, 1954.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.