Assess the causes of the General Strike
There were many factors which lead to the General strike of 1926, some more important than others.
One of the key factors which led to the General strike was Red Friday. This was a General strike that was planned to take place on the 31st July 1925. The background of this strike was that mine owners said that they were obliged to cut wages for their workers, and that they intended to do so. This angered the miners and the miners trade union, who organised the Red Friday strike to be held on 31st July 1925. The Government under Stanley Baldwin only managed to prevent this strike by offering the miners a temporary subsidiary to maintain wages. However, this only prevented the strike but did not solve the problem. The miners and their union were still angry at the mine owners.
Another reason for the general strike of 1926 ...view middle of the document...
The return to the Gold Standard by then Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill, was also an important reason for the General Strike. This increased the value of the pound which caused inflated prices. This caused british industry to suffer as exporters struggled to sell British goods abroad. The new inflated prices made British products extremely expensive compared to the alternatives from other countries, creating a disincentive to buy British. British goods were priced out of the market. This caused problems back in Britain as industry suffered. Many workers suffered reduced wages or even loss of jobs, which caused tension between workers and the government.
The trade unions of the different industries had a large part to play in the build up to the General Strike of 1926. Known as the triple alliance, the Railway Union, Transport Union and the Miners Union joined together to organise the General Strike. The idea of this was to bring Britain to a total standstill, as all the main industries of the time would be striking. It also increased the scale of the strike, with more people on strike from each of the industries.
The problems in the Coal Industry were an important reason for the General Strike. The Samuel Commission called for the reconstruction of the Coal Industry due to falling sales. These falling sales were due to coal being replaced by oil as the primary fuel. During this reconstruction of the Industry, the mine owners said that the workers should accept a cut in wages. The miners and the miners federation, already angered by the events of the red Friday incident rejected this. They called upon the TUC to organise the General Strike.
Although there were many significant causes of the General Strike of 1926, the tension between the miners and the government and mine owners was the most important. This is because it was the miners federation who approached the TUC to organise the general strike in the first place. There were many reasons for the General strike, but the miners were the spark that started the fire.