London and North Eastern Railway: General Strike

Scope and Content

Emergency timetables and news bulletins for London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) during the General Strike.

Administrative / Biographical History

The London and North Eastern Railway, which incorporates the former Great Central, Great Eastern, Great Northern, Hull and Barnsley, North Eastern, North British and Great North of Scotland Railway Companies, is the second largest railway company in Great Britain. With a total single track mileage, including sidings, of 16,824, the system covers the whole of Eastern England and East and West Scotland It serves the country between the Moray Firth and the Thames.

In 1926 the government set up a Royal Commission to look into the problems of the Mining Industry. The Commission published its report in March 1926. It recognised that the industry needed to be reorganised but rejected the suggestion of nationalisation. The report also recommended that the Government subsidy should be withdrawn and the miners' wages should be reduced. The month in which the report was issued also saw the mine-owners publishing new terms of employment. These new procedures included an extension of the seven-hour working day, district wage-agreements, and a reduction in the wages of all miners. The mine-owners announced that if the miners did not accept their new terms of employment they would be locked out of the pits from the first of May. A Conference of the Trade Union Congress met on 1st May 1926, and afterwards announced that a General Strike 'in defence of miners' wages and hours' was to begin two days later. The TUC decided to bring out workers in what they regarded as the key industries - railwaymen, transport workers, dockers, printers, builders, iron and steel workers - a total of 3 million men (a fifth of the adult male population). Only later would other trade unionists, like the engineers and shipyard workers, be called out on strike. During the next two days efforts were made to reach an agreement with the Conservative Government and the mine-owners. For several months the miners held out, but by October 1926 hardship forced men to return to the mines. In 1927 the British Government passed the Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act. This act made all sympathetic strikes illegal, ensured the trade union members had to voluntarily 'contract in' to pay the political levy, forbade Civil Service unions to affiliate to the TUC, and made mass picketing illegal.

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Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 8, 2002

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