Miners And History Essay

2812 words - 11 pages

Miners and History At the beginning of the War the county had high hopes. War
Socialism had been brought in, this was the country's industries being
geared up toward the war effort, this included the mines being
nationalised, and many miners hoped that they would stay nationalised
after the war. The miners at that time liked the government and some
even joined the armed forces, the miners were patriotic to England.

In 1919 the coal industry was in a good state as there was good trade
with foreign countries and export in coal was high. The Miner's
Federation thought that now was the time to push for higher wages and
better conditions and standards for their miners. They thought the
government would listen to them as miners made up to 16% of the
working population in Great Britain at that time.

Some of the changes they wanted were: An increase in wages by a third,
fixed wages, a six hour day and immediate nationalism. If the
government fixed wages then there was going to be a general increase
in wages as all mines would be brought in line with each other. If the
government nationalised the mines then it would have to set up a
department for mines and would have had to pay for a whole new
department. Also there were many wealthy land and mine owners and they
would have not liked to see the nationalisation of the mines as this
would have led to a loss in profit for them and they could have
applied pressure on the government not to nationalise. The Sankey
commission was an investigation by the government, it looked into coal
mining. It looked at how coal mining could be improved; it made some
improvements which the government followed. The Sankey commission
stated that the mines should be nationalised, to stop huge profits and
improve safety, the government did not do this, much to the
disappointment of the miners, who campaigned for nationalisation. The
government did give the miners one thing, the Coal Mines Act of 1919,
a six hour day which meant miners only mined for six hours a day, but
the reality was different as this did not include the time taken to
travel from the surface to the mine face and the way back up, this
would have varied from mine to mine but the average time added to a
miner's day would have been more than an hour.

In 1921 the government said that they would now give back the mines to
private mine owners. Once the mine owners had control of the mines
they said that the only way they could continue to operate would be if
they reduced pay, then they also said that fixed reduced pay would
come into affect across the whole of mines in Great Britain. In South
Wales pay cuts were up to 50% of the miner's pay. All of these issues
went against what the MFGB fought for in their...

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