Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “england”

June 18, 1984


During picketing of the Orgreave Coking Plant in South Yorkshire, England, police attack striking miners, arresting nearly one hundred people and injuring dozens. Ninety-five miners were arrested and charged with riot, an offense that carried a potential life sentence. The subsequent trials collapsed due to lack of evidence.

February 10, 1972

saltley-gate-trades-council-ad30,000 engineers walk out in support of a nationwide strike by coal miners, and about a third of them march to the last remaining open fuel depot in Birmingham, England, and shut it down. The blockade forced police – who had battled for days to keep the depot open – to surrender. The “Battle of Saltley Gate” was a turning point in the miners’ strike.

September 7, 1893


Starving coal miners in the small West Yorkshire, England, pit town of Featherstone – locked out for refusing to accept a wage cut – assemble to stop the movement of coal. As their numbers grew, the military was called in and opened fire, injuring eight people, two of whom died from their wounds.

August 4, 1919

Half of the police force in Liverpool, England, who had gone out on strike following the government’s ban on their union (the National Union of Police and Prison Officers), are replaced by scabs. Every single man who had gone out on strike was fired, lost their pension, and no one was reinstated.

June 28, 1816


Following a failed attempt to regulate the stocking knitting trade and form a Trade Society to promote their demands, textile workers in England attack mills in Loughborough, smashing 53 frames. Troops were used to end the riots, six men were executed, and another three were transported.

March 18, 1834


Six farm laborers in Tolpuddle, Dorset, England, are found guilty of taking an illegal oath and forming a union. The men were sentenced to seven years of prison labor in Australia. Support for the Tolpuddle Martyrs was enormous: a massive demonstration marched through London and 800,000 people signed a petition protesting their sentence.

March 11, 1811


Stocking workers in Nottingham, England, gather to protest automation that was replacing their jobs and lowering their wages.  They then marched to the nearby town of Arnold, where they destroyed sixty knitting frames.  The riots spread and the Prime Minister decreed frame-breaking a capital offense a year later.  Seventeen workers were executed.

December 18, 1830


The trial of nearly 350 agricultural laborers gets underway in England.  Facing land enclosures and mechanization, farm workers riot in the autumn of 1830, demanding higher wages, destroying machinery, and threatening landowners.  Of the nearly 2,000 people tried and convicted, 19 were executed and over 500 deported to New South Wales and Tasmania.

May 8, 1838


The People’s Charter — submitted by the London Working Men’s Association with six million signatures — is published in England as a parliamentary bill.  Although the charter was not enacted, most of its demands were passed into law during the century after the end of the Chartist movement.

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