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The Causes And Consequences Of The General Strike In 1926

1340 words - 5 pages

The Causes And Consequences Of The General Strike In 1926

For a brief period after the First World War, Britain faced an
economic boom. Workers were in a strong position and businesses were
optimistic, believing that world demand for British goods would
increase and trading would return to the success it had prior to the
war. However, in 1920, Britain experienced their worst economic slump
in history. This was caused by a poor performance in foreign markets
due to the lack of reinvestment, modernisation in British industry and
increased competition abroad, especially from the USA and Germany.

In response to this slump, the Government tried to stabilise the
British economy by reintroducing the Gold Standar. Unfortunately they
overestimated the value of currency by 10%, increasing the problems of
an already unstable British industry. The British mining industry
suffered an economic crisis in 1925. This was largely caused by the
fall in prices resulting from the import of free coal from Germany as
reparations in the aftermath of World War I. The loss of foreign
markets and the fall of world commodity prices and the decline in the
competitiveness of British coal in foreign markets due to the Gold
Standard led to poor relations between mine owners and mine workers.
When productivity fell in the mines due to lack of modernisation and
reinvestment, mine owners responded by proposing a reduction in wages
and an increase of hours.

Coal mining had always been a very dangerous job. In the three years
from 1922 to 1924, 597,194 miners were injured. Although coal mining
created huge profits, workers received very low wages, and the
conditions were very bad. The miners felt they were being treated very
unfairly. Even before the First World War, miners had been campaigning
for improvements in they're working conditions and there pay, as they
were so bad, so after the war, miners returned to the mines with high
hopes for the future. Therefore they were particularly disappointed
and upset that the politicians had not done the things they said they
would. Miners who had carried on working in the mines during the First
World War enjoyed many improvements in their work. This was mainly
because; the government took over control of the mines. Wages were
increased and standardised.

Before the war wages depended on how cheap and easy there work was at
each individual mine, therefore wages varied from mine to mine. Most
miners hoped that all mines would remain nationalised after the war;
however in 1921 Lloyd George allowed the mines to go back into private
ownership. This was because the royal Commission couldn't agree on a
suitable solution to the problems in the coal-mining industry. Most
members agreed that mines being nationalised would be the best idea
but however this did not happen. For...

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