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100 Years ago....

Trade union support for miners caves in

April 15, 1921

The national strike in Britain by the Triple Alliance, due to begin at 10 o'clock tonight, has been called off. At the last minute the railway and transport unions decided not to come out in support of the Miners' Federation in its dispute with the coal owners.

By themselves the miners are in a weak position to resist the employer's demands that, with war-time controls on coal due to be removed this month, and in the current economic slump, wages should be lowered and set locally, not by the national negotiation. The other unions would not, however, go along with the further demands that all coal mining profits and losses should go into on national "pool" and that the Government should subsidise the industry.

The Triple Alliance has thus failed in its first serious test. The miners asked for support two weeks ago, when the Government declared a state of emergency and rationed coal, using for the first time the Emergency Powers Act brought in six months ago when the miners were last on strike.

Then a week ago, Navy, Army and Air reserves were recalled to the colours and the Government appealed for all "loyal citizens capable of bearing arms", aged between 18 and 40, to volunteer for 90 days service in new units of the Regular Army which would be called "Defence Units"

Article from "Chronicle of the 20th Century" ISBN 1 872031 80 3

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