Scope and Content

Diary of negotiations between the government and the Miners' Federation ofGreat Britain concerning wages and working hours, 10th March to 3rd May 1926.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Tawney 1880 - 1962

Richard Tawney was educated at Rugby and Balliol College, Oxford. He was afellow at Balliol, 1918-21, and an honorary fellow, 1938. Tawney was amember of the executive committee of the Workers' Educational Association(WEA) 1905, and held WEA tutorial classes in Rochdale and Manchester,1908-14. From 1906 - 1908 he taught political economy at Glasgow University.

Tawney joined the Fabian Society in 1906. He was a member of the Society'sexecutive 1921 - 1933. In 1909 he joined the Independent Labour Party. He waswounded during World War I. After the war he stood unsuccessfully as a Labourcandidate in 1918, 1922 and 1919. Tawney was a member of the consultativecommittee of the Board of Education 1912 - 1931. In 1919 he became a memberof the Coal Industry Commission. Tawney was a lecturer in economic history atLondon School of Economics 1917 and 1920 - 1949, becoming a professor in1931. From 1927 - 1934 he co-edited the Economic History Review.

His publications include:

  • The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century (1912)
  • The Acquisitive Society (1921)
  • Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926)
  • Equality (1931)
  • Business and politics under James I: Lionel Cranfield as merchant andminister (1958)

The General Strike

In 1926 the government set up a Royal Commission to look into the problems ofthe Mining Industry. The Commission published its report in March 1926. Itrecognised that the industry needed to be reorganised but rejected thesuggestion of nationalization. The report also recommended that theGovernment subsidy should be withdrawn and the miners' wages should bereduced. The month in which the report was issued also saw the mine-ownerspublishing new terms of employment. These new procedures included anextension of the seven-hour working day, district wage-agreements, and areduction in the wages of all miners. The mine-owners announced that if theminers did not accept their new terms of employment they would be locked outof the pits from the first of May. A Conference of Trade Union Congress meton 1st May 1926, and afterwards announced that a General Strike CHquot;in defenceof miners' wages and hours' was to begin two days later. During the next twodays efforts were made to reach an agreement with the Conservative Governmentand the mine-owners. For several months the miners held out, but by October1926 hardship forced men to return to the mines. In 1927 the BritishGovernment passed the Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act. This act made allsympathetic strikes illegal, ensured the trade union members had tovoluntarily 'contract in' to pay the political levy, forbade Civil Serviceunions to affiliate to the TUC, and made mass picketing illegal.


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