British General Strike III

Lead: Wracked by internal divisions, in spring 1926 the labor movement in Britain called the only General Strike in England's history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early part of the century, unions representing thousands of British industrial workers were locked in a running debate on the way labor should deal with management. Should unions work within the system or assault it from the outside -- confrontation or cooperation? The leaders of the Trades Union Congress, an umbrella group representing many unions and the members of the British Labor Party were in favor of cooperation. Most were socialist in their outlook, but they advocated gradual reform of society. Among rank and file workers however, there were Communists and radicals who considered their leaders wimpish and wished to remake society along Marxist lines. They looked for confrontation. In May 1926 coal miners gave them their chance.

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British General Strike II

Lead: In 1926, the British labor movement called the only general work stoppage in that nation's history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As the 1800s drew to a close, industrial workers in Britain had begun to band themselves together into mass trade unions. Shipbuilding laborers, transportation workers, printers, and a host of other trades organized themselves to protect their interests, improve working conditions, and increase wages. Military needs during World War I had gradually increased the wages of factory workers and when peace broke out these workers resisted attempts by government and business leaders to roll back to prewar levels their hard won gains.

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