Causes for Luddites and then Development of Unions--- England’s Distress in 1811-1813 • In 1812 the government probably had reason to be fearful: – a large part of the army was overseas, mainly in the Peninsular with Wellington; – the country was fighting not only the French but also the Americans – England was experiencing the worst trade depression since the 1760s and people were suffering great hardship. as evidenced by the Sheffield riots of 1812 • Source: http://www.usp.nus.edu.sg/victorian/history/riots/luddites.htm l Causes for Development of Luddites and Unions • Poverty – Harsh economic times because of the Napoleonic wars • Non-enforcement of laws meant to protect workers – Minimum wage bill 1808 (decreased wages) – Deteriorating working conditions • Combination Acts – Banned trade unions • Mechanical Looms and spinners replacing skilled craftsman Mills Working Conditions in the Mills Luddites The Luddites were against the use of new technological machinery which they believed took jobs away from other people They would burn the factories that made these machines. Their group was most notable during the 1810’s They caused such a problem for the government they were ordered to be arrested on sight The cause of it all? The type of instrument destroyed by Ned Ludd A stocking frame was a machine that knitted stocking or socks. 1812 – Frame-Breaking Act (capital crime) What did the Luddite craftsman want? The Luddites: 1811-1816 Attacks on the “frames” [power looms]. Ned Ludd [a mythical figure supposed to live in Sherwood Forest] Luddites and Luddism Workers began breaking into factories at night and destroying new machines Unions had no leader so they claimed to follow “General Ludd” a made up figure Named after Ned Ludd who smashed a mechanical loom “Luddite” now refers to people resisting technological change Breaking into factories became known as Luddism The Luddites took to smashing machines that were replacing their job opportunities and abilities to raise money. General Ludd General Ned Ludd was said to be the leader of the original Luddites. He is said to have gained fame by the 1800’s, and to have started the movement in the 1810’s. Trade unions sent threatening letters employers and local officials. Letters to the factories were signed by Ned Ludd. Where the name “Luddites” came from Mythic Hero? • Ned Ludd mythical person? • Ned Ludd was reputed to live in Sherwood Forest. • “They said Ned Ludd was an idiot boy • That all he could do was wreck and destroy, and • He turned to his workmates and said: Death to Machines • They tread on our future and they stamp on our dreams.” -- Robert Calvert Riots and battles of the Luddite rebellion Riots Nottinhamshire – Nov 1811 West Riding of Yorkshire – Jan 1812 Lancashire – March 1813 Sutton’s Mill, Nottinghamshire Luddites smashing looms in a factory during the riots of 1811–16. The Granger Collection, New York Luddite Attacks One of the most serious attacks took place at Rawfolds Mill in Yorkshire. William Cartwright owned the mill and had been using cloth-finishing machinery since 1811 Local croppers began losing their jobs These farmers met at Saint Crispin public house and decided to try and destroy the cloth-finishing machinery Cartwright suspected trouble and arranged for the mill to be protected by armed guards Luddite Attacks cont’d. The attack on Rawfolds Mill took place on April 11, 1812 and was led by George Mellor The Luddites failed to gain entry Two croppers were mortally wounded Most infamous union raid Cartwright became a hero for efforts to crush Luddite threat Middleton Guardian Report "AT LEAST seven people have been killed after a day of Luddite rioting that brought terror to the poplace of Middleton. Until now the town has been spared the attention of the followers of the infamous Ned Ludd from Leicestershire, whose resentment of the coming of the power driven loom has spawned bands of machine wreckers. It has been feared for some time that Middleton could become the target for these agitators, for many of the town's loomhouses have fallen silent - the men have gone to work at the power looms that Daniel Burton has installed at his calico printing mill in Wood Street. But no one could have forseen the mayhem that ensued today, 2nd April 1812. Men armed with clubs, staves and rakes came into the town from all directions. They congregated at Th' Top o' Middleton, entered the shops and began to fill their pockets with the goods on the shelves, throwing the flour and sugar about the floor and generally causing havoc. http://www.middletonguardian.co.uk/community/nostalgia/s/409682_1800_to_1900 George Mellor---A Luddite Leader Led the revolt against Cartwright Was put on trial along with three other leaders for the killing of William Horsfall Refused to break the Luddite code of silence when put on trial. Was hanged in January 1813. Luddite Attacks cont’d. A week later the Luddites killed William Horsfall, another large mill owner in the area The authorities rounded up over a hundred suspects They indicted 64 Three men were executed for the murder of Horsfall and another 14 were hung for attack on the Rawfolds Mill. In 1812 there were attacks on Lancashire cotton mills. On March 20, 1812 the warehouse of William Radcliffe was attacked in Stockport Primary Source “ Such was the state of that country, and such I have reason to believe that it to be at this moment. But whilst these outrages must be admitted to exist to an alarming extent, it cannot be denied that they have arisen from circumstances of the most unparalleled distress: the perseverance of these miserable men in their proceedings, tends to prove that nothing but absolute want could have driven a large, and once honest and industrious, body of the people into the commission of excesses so hazardous to themselves, their families, and the community. They were not ashamed to beg, but there was none to relieve them; their own means of subsistence were cut off, all other employment preoccupied; and their excesses, however to be deplored and condemned, can hardly be subject to surprise.” Lord Byron Luddite Attacks cont’d. Wheat prices soared in 1812 and workers became desperate There were food riots in Manchester, Oldham, Ashton, Rochdale, Stockport, and Macclesfield On April 20,1812 several thousand men attacked Burton’s Mill at Middleton. Emmanuel Burton had recruited armed guards Three members of the crowd were killed by musket fire Men returned the next day and set Burton’s house on fire The military came back and another seven men were killed Burton’s Mill Primary Source “ The weaving factory of Mr. Burton and Sons had been previously threatened in consequence of their mode of weaving being done by the operation of stream. The factory was protected by soldiers, so strongly as to be impregnable to their assault; they then flew to the house of Mr. Emmanuel Burton, where they wreaked their vengeance by setting it on fire. On Friday, the 24th of April, a large body of weavers and mechanics began to assemble together with the whole of the premises, at Westhoughton. The military rode at full speed to Westhoughton; and on the arrival were surprised to find that he premises were entirely destroyed, while not an individual could be seen to whom attached any suspicion of having acted a part in this truly dreadful outrage.” Archibald Prince Luddite Attacks cont’d. Three days later Wray and Duncroff’s Mill was set on fire The sheriff arrested 12 men suspected of taking part in the attack Four of the accused were executed In the summer of 1812 eight men in Lancashire were sentenced to death and thirteen transported to Australia for attacks on cotton mills. Another fifteen were executed at York By 1817 The Luddite movement had ceased to be active in Britain. Luddite Song “Engines of Mischief” These Engines of mischief were sentenced to die By unanimous vote of the Trade. And Ludd who can all opposition defy Was the Grand executioner made. Government Response Felt it had to establish control Provide good business climate Repress and control unruly labor groups No attempt to alleviate cause of social disruption “The Frame Breakers” by Nicols Fox Government Reaction March 1811: authorities placed 400 special constables to protect February 1812: Government of Spencer Perceval proposed that machine- breaking should become a capital offence Frame Breaking Act: enabled people convicted of machine- breaking to be sentenced to death Government ordered 12,000 troops to areas where Luddites were active Offered pardons to those who renounced oath to “General Ludd” Paid spies reported leaders and testified against them Soldiers broke up Luddite meetings and made arrests Mellor and 2 other leaders were hung in January 1813 for the murder of Horsfall 1899: Parliament rejected worker pleas for a minimum wage law and made trade unions illegal Government Reaction English government planted spies into the Unions to retrieve names of people leading them. They offered rewards to informers. Sent several thousand troops into the area. Still had little success. Parliament passed a law that made machine breaking illegal. The punishment was the death-penalty. Luddites were tried and sent to Australia if found guilty. The Luddi tes Lord Byron’s Speech againstThe Frame Breaking Act • Lord Byron, made a passionate speech against the Act in the House of Lords at the end of February, 1812: • During the short time I recently passed in Nottingham, not twelve hours elapsed without some fresh act of violence; and on that day I left the county I was informed that forty Frames had been broken the preceding evening, as usual, without resistance and without detection. Such was the state of that county, and such I have reason to believe it to be at this moment. But whilst these outrages must be admitted to exist to an alarming extent, it cannot be denied that they have arisen from circumstances of the most unparalleled distress: the perseverance of these miserable men in their proceedings, tends to prove that nothing but absolute want could have driven a large, and once honest and industrious, body of the people, into the commission of excesses so hazardous to themselves, their families, and the community. End of Luddites Machines and factories had been completely destroyed Defeat of General Ludd; military force, trials, and hangings 1830’s: most hand spinners, weavers, and croppers had been replaced by machines The end of Luddism Male workers gained the right to vote Trade unions became legal 49 luddites killed in riots by government forces 24 were executed 34 transported to Australia More than 20 others given long term prison sentences The Luddite riots led to many songs that were sung for years afterwards, and made the Luddites popular heroes Luddites in Song General Ludd's Triumph Now by force unsubdued, and by Tune "Poor Jack" threats undismay'd Death itself can't his ardour Chant no more your old rhymes about repress bold Robin Hood,(2) His feats I but little admire The presence of Armies can't make I will sing the Achievements of General him afraid Ludd Nor impede his career of success Now the Hero of Nottinghamshire Brave Ludd was to measures of violence Whilst the news of his conquests is unused spread far and near Till his sufferings became so severe How his Enemies take the alarm That at last to defend his own Interest he rous'd(3) His courage, his fortitude, strikes And for the great work did prepare(4) them with fear For they dread his Omnipotent Arm! More Songs • "The Cropper's Song" Come, cropper lads of high renown, • Hunting a Loaf Who love to drink good ale that's brown, And strike each haughty tyrant down, Good people I pray, now hear what I say, With hatchet, pike, and gun! And pray do not call it sedition; Oh, the cropper lads for me, For these great men of late they The gallant lads for me, have cracked my poor pate: Who with lusty stroke, I'm wounded, in a woeful condition. The shear frames broke, The cropper lads for me! Chorus And sing fal lal the diddle i do, What though the specials(14) still advance, Sing fal the diddle i do, And soldiers nightly round us prance; Sing fal the lal day. The croppers lads still lead the dance, For in Derby it's true and in With hatchet, pike, and gun! Nottingham too, Oh, the cropper lads for me, Poor men to the jail they've been The gallant lads for me, taking; Who with lusty stroke They say that Ned Ludd, as I understood, The shear frames broke, A thousand wide frames has been The cropper lads for me! breaking. Luddite Fallacy • Labor saving technologies increase un-employment by reducing the demand for labor • The Fallacy – Cost of goods decreases – Demand for goods rises – So more people are hired. – At the macro-economic level, production increases while keeping workforce levels constant – Micro-economically, real people are out of a job. Modern day wisdom says the cure for this is job training • If the Luddite fallacy were true we would all be out of work because productivity has been increasing for two centuries – Alex Tabarrok, economist Political Consequences of Luddites • Changed the views of many influential people – Especially Lord Byron who spoke at the trials of several luddites, and Earl Fitzwilliam, Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire. • Brought rights of workers to the attention of the public • Began debate about industrialization • Look at both the positive and negative effects of industrialization • Govt. could no longer ignore the plight of workers • Technology is never neutral The Making of the English Working Class, E. P. Thompson • Luddites were not opposed to new technology so much as the economic order that arose with it that destroyed their lively hood • Research suggests that the frames destroyed were often those of owners and mills that tried to cut process and wages, while others were often left un touched • The Luddites acted from a sense of self preservation What are the similarities between the Luddites and the WSPU Suffragettes led by the Pankhursts? What is a Union? A continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment. The Trade Unions The trade unions were bands of people of one trade that came together to help their common good. They would strike for better wages and petition for less hours. Use collective bargaining Unions in the Early 18 th Century Growth of unions in Great Britain was due to industrialization Employers began turning to machines so that they wouldn’t have to pay craftsmen People were becoming unemployed or wages were being cut Craftsmen became extremely angry Workers revolted by smashing machines Trade Clubs were formed by workers to bargain for higher wages Labor Union meetings were banned until 1824 due to fear of an uprising Workers benefited from unions through strength and unity Government prosecuted unions and supported employers 1871: 290,000 people belonged to unions 1901: # of people belonging to unions had risen to 2,000,000 Weapons Used by Employers Weapons Used by Unions • At-will employment • Boycotts • Blacklists • Check-offs • Company unions • Closed shops • Individual bargaining • Collective bargaining • Injunctions • Direct political action • Laws that limit union • Favorable labor legislation activities • Feather-bedding • Lockouts • Lobbying • Open shops • Picketing • Outsourcing • Sabotage • Relocation • Strikes • Right-to-work laws • Union label • Threat of foreign • Union shops competition • Welfare capitalism • Yellow-dog contracts National Union of Mineworkers In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century colliers in every coal-mining area attempted to form unions During this period miners obtained a reputation for militancy and were accused of being followers of the revolutionary doctrines of Tom Paine In an attempt to avoid the Combination Acts early colliery unions went under the name of friendly societies In the early part of the nineteenth century, there were 21 miner's friendly societies in central Lancashire alone. in 1831 and 1832 miners in Northumberland and Durham joined together to gain a reduction in hours and the abolition of the truck system Nat’l Union of Mineworkers cont’d. In 1842 colliers formed the Miners Association of Great Britain and Ireland In 1880 James Keir Hardie led the first ever strike of Lanarkshire miners He also became secretary of the Ayrshire Miners' Union and later, with the help of another outstanding union leader, Robert Smillie, helped establish the Scottish Miners' Federation In the 1874 General Election two miners, Alexander MacDonald (Stafford) and Thomas Burt (Morpeth) were elected to the House of Commons After the passing of the 1884 Reform Act most miners could vote in parliamentary elections Nat’l Union of Mineworkers cont’d. Six miners were elected to Parliament from the Liberal Party In the summer of 1888 the price of coal began to rise. All over Britain miners began to talk about the need for a pay increase When colliery owners rejected the claims of the Yorkshire Miners' Association, its leader, Ben Pickard, sent out a circular inviting all miners "to attend a conference for the purpose of considering the best means of securing a 10% advance in wages and of trying to find common ground for action." National Union of Agricultural Workers In 1833 a small group of farm laborers in a village in Dorset called Tolpuddle attempted to form a branch of the Agricultural Laborers Union Its six leaders were arrested and charged under the 1797 Unlawful Oaths Act. They were found guilty and sentenced to seven years‘ in Australia Nat’l Union of Agricultural Workers cont’d. Workers were shocked by the severity of the sentences It was not until 1866 that an organized attempt was made to combine At this time the Agricultural Laborers Protection Association was formed in Kent As labor was scarce at that time, the men were able to get their wages raised. Similar organizations were formed in Buckinghamshire, Herefordshire and Hertfordshire Nat’l Union of Agricultural Workers cont’d. In March 1872 a meeting was held in Wellsbourne, Warwickshire It was decided to unite these different agricultural unions. The delegates elected Joseph Arch as their leader. They established the National Agricultural Laborers’ Union Within two years they had over 86,000 members, Over one-tenth of the farm work force in Britain Nat’l Union of Agricultural Workers cont’d. A prolonged strike in 1874 drained the union of funds Membership had declined to 4,254 by 1889. The successful London Dock Strike inspired the agricultural workers to try again to develop a strong union. This time they were able to maintain the union's growth By 1919 the National Union of Agricultural Workers had over 100,000 members. Association of Cotton Spinners By 1800 over thirty cotton towns in Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire had local spinners' friendly societies or trade clubs The first documented society was at Stockport in 1785 These societies became illegal under the terms of the 1799 and 1800 Combination Acts After the repeal of the Combination Acts in 1824 and 1825, spinners had more freedom to form associations of workers. In 1828 John Doherty became leader of the Manchester Spinners' Union. Association of Cotton Spinners John Doherty organized a meeting of spinners from all over Britain. The result of the meeting was the formation of the Grand General Union of Operative Spinners of the United Kingdom. Doherty's union only lasted two years and it was not until 1845 that a similar organization was formed. This time it was a group of spinners in Bolton who created the Association of Operative Cotton Spinners. Despite its name, few people joined from outside that part of Lancashire. Association of Cotton Spinners Other attempts at forming a national union took place In Preston in 1852 the Friendly Association of Hand Mule Spinners was created. This time membership included workers from Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Derbyshire. In 1870 the Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton Spinners was established This gave the cotton spinning trade a real national union National Union of Gasworkers & General Laborers The committee then had responsibility of forming what became known as the National Union of Gasworkers & General Laborers. Elections were held and Thorne defeated Tillett for the post of General Secretary of the union. Some members of the committee wanted the union to negotiate a 1 shilling a day increase in their wages. Will Thorne favored a reduction in hours National Union of Gasworkers & General Laborers In March, 1889, workers from the Beckton Gas Works were laid off. Gas workers from all over London held a protest meeting on Sunday, 31st March. Will Thorne suggested that the gas workers formed their own union to protect themselves from the power of their employers Will Thorne, Ben Tillett and William Byford formed a three man committee and that morning they recruited over 800 members. National Union of Gasworkers & General Laborers Thorne won the argument and began negotiations with the owners of the Gas Light and Coke Company, Beckton Gas Works and Nine Elms Gas Works. Within a few weeks Thorne had successfully negotiated an eight hour day in the industry. As they previously did twelve hour shifts, this was a great advert for union power The Gasworkers' Union soon had over 20,000 members Gasworkers & General Laborers: Primary Source Will Thorne, speech at a meeting of gas workers in London (31st March, 1889) Let me tell you that you will never get any alteration in Sunday work, no alteration in any of your conditions or wages, unless you join together and form a strong trade union. Then you will be able to have a voice and say how long will work, and how much you will do for a day's work. It is easy to break one stick, but when fifty sticks are together in one bundle it is a much more difficult job. The way you have been treated in your work for many years is a scandalous, brutal, and inhuman. I pledge my word that, if you will stand firm and don't waver, within six months we will claim and win the eight-hour day, a six-day week and the abolition of the present slave-driving methods in vogue not only at the Beckton Gas Works, but all over the country. Gasworkers & General Laborers: Primary Source In his book My Life's Battles Will Thorne explained how he persuaded his fellow members of the National Union of Gas Workers & General Laborers to campaign for the eight-hour day (1925) It was proposed to petition the directors of the different companies in London for an advance of 1s. per day in the wages of all the workers. I opposed this; I wanted a reduction in the working hours. "Shorten the hours and prolong your lives," was my plea. I declared that the eight-hour day would not alone mean a reduction of four hours a day for the workers then employed, but that it meant a large number of unemployed would be absorbed, and so reduce the inhuman competition that was making men more like beasts than civilized persons. National Union of Railwaymen In 1865 men working on the Great Western Railway attempted to form a Railway Working Men's Provident Benefit Society It was quickly destroyed when its leaders were sacked by the company. In the next thirty five years there were ten new railway unions were started but many failed to survive more than a couple of years. The most successful of these was: the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS) that was established in 1871 the Amalgamated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) in 1880. National Union of Railwaymen By 1890 the total number of trade unionists on the railways was about 48,000 out of a total work force of 381,000. By 1910 it had increased to 116,000, two-thirds of whom were in the ASRS and about one-sixth in ASLEF. In 1913 the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) was formed by the amalgamation of the ASRS, the United Pointsmen and Signalmen's Society and the General Railway Workers Union National Union of Railwaymen The most important figure in these negotiations was Jimmy Thomas, the Labor MP for Derby. Although still a member of the House of Commons, Thomas was elected General Secretary of the NUR in 1917 Two years later he led a successful railway strike. When Ramsay MacDonald became Prime Minister after the 1924 General Election, he appointed Thomas as Secretary of State for the Colonies. He was expelled from the Labor Party after he joined MacDonald's National Government in 1931. Union Cartoon Transport and General Workers Union July 1910 Ben Tillett and Tom Mann were the leaders of the Dockers’ Union Representatives of the 16 unions present at the meeting agreed and Harry Gosling of the Amalgamated Society of Waterman and Lighterman was elected president of the new organization. Gosling argued for futher amalgamation and in June 1913 the General Laborers’ Union joined the National Transport Workers’ Federation (NTWF) 1922 the 2 men (Gosling & Bevin) were instrumental in establishing the Transport & General Workers Union (TGWU) TGWU united nearly 50 organizations into the world’s largest union. Political Cartoon Strikes Strike- refusing to continue working until their demands were met: not being held liable for financial damages on employers Union funds were not legally protected Picketing through strike was illegal 1870’s: British unions had the right to strike Bloody Sunday The Social Democratic Federation (SDF) organized a meeting for 13th February, 1887 in Trafalgar Square to protest against the policies of the Conservative Government headed by the Marquess of Salisbury. The government decided to ban the meeting and the police were given the orders to stop the marchers entering Trafalgar Square. The SDF decided to continue with their planned meeting and as a result the marchers were attacked by the police. George Barnes was one of those who was badly injured by the charging police horses. Some of the protesters were arrested and later two of the leaders of the march, John Burns and Robert Cunninghame Graham, were arrested and later sentenced to a six-week prison sentence Bloody Sunday: Primary Source Walter Crane later described what took place on Bloody Sunday on 13th November 1887. I never saw anything more like real warfare in my life - only the attack was all on one side. The police, in spite of their numbers, apparently thought they could not cope with the crowd. They had certainly exasperated them, and could not disperse them, as after every charge - and some of these drove the people right against the shutters in the shops in the Strand - they returned again. Bloody Sunday: Primary Source J. R. Clynes, Memoirs (1937) Angry Labour leaders announced that, on Sunday, November 13th, 1887, Trafalgar Square would be stormed. Squadrons of military, fully armed, and powerful detachments of police, were drafted there to resist any such attempt. On the appointed day, workers led by Burns and others tried to force a way through the armed ranks, to demonstrate the rights of free speech. Bricks and stones were flung, iron railings crashed on sabres and bayonets, dozens of workmen were wounded, and the attack was beaten off. Burns and others were arrested. A month or two later, another effort was made to storm the Square, and a workman was killed. Burns made a speech at the funeral, and was again arrested. At his trial at the Old Bailey, H. H. Asquith was Counsel for the Defence. Burns was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment; later, he and Asquith were Cabinet Ministers together. Bloody Sunday: Primary Source The Times (14th November, 1887) It was no enthusiasm for free speech, no reasoned belief in the innocence of Mr O'Brien, no serious conviction of any kind, and no honest purpose that animated these howling toughs. It was simple love of disorder, hope of plunder it may be hoped that the magistrates will not fail to pass exemplary sentences upon those now in custody who have laboured to the best of their ability to convert an English Sunday into a carnival of blood. Bloody Sunday: Primary Source In his book, My Days and Dreams, Edward Carpenter described the events of Bloody Sunday. I was in the Square at the time. The crowd was a most good- humoured, easy going, smiling crowd; but presently it was transformed. A regiment of mounted police came cantering up. The order had gone forth that we were to be kept moving. To keep a crowd moving is I believe a technical term for the process of riding roughshod in all directions, scattering, frightening and batoning the people. I saw my friend Robert Muirhead seized by the collar by a mounted man and dragged along, apparently towards a police station, while a bobby on foot aided in the arrest. I jumped to the rescue and slanged the two constables, for which I got a whack on the cheek-bone from a baton, but Muirhead was released. The Matchgirls The Matchgirls’ Strike In June 1888, Clementina Black gave a speech on Female Labour at a Fabian Society meeting in London. Annie Besant, a member of the audience, was horrified when she heard about the pay and conditions of the women working at the Bryant & May match factory. The next day, Annie Besant went and interviewed some of the people who worked at Bryant & May. The Matchgirls’ Strike She discovered that the women worked fourteen hours a day for a wage of less than five shillings a week. However, they did not always received their full wage because of a system of fines, ranging from three pence to one shilling, imposed by the Bryant & May management. Offences included talking, dropping matches or going to the toilet without permission. The women worked from 6.30 am in summer (8.00 in winter) to 6.00 pm. If workers were late, they were fined a half-day's pay. The Matchgirls’ Strike Annie Besant also discovered that the health of the women had been severely affected by the phosphorous that they used to make the matches. This caused yellowing of the skin and hair loss and phossy jaw, a form of bone cancer. The whole side of the face turned green and then black, discharging foul-smelling pus and finally death. Phosphorous was banned in Sweden and the US The British government refused to follow this example, arguing that it would be a restraint of free trade. The Matchgirls’ Strike On 23rd June 1888, Annie Besant wrote an article in her newspaper, The Link. The article, entitled White Slavery in London, complained about the way the women at Bryant & May were being treated. The company reacted by attempting to force their workers to sign a statement that they were happy with their working conditions. When a group of women refused to sign, the organizers of the group was sacked. The response was immediate; 1400 of the women at Bryant & May went on strike Matchgirls’: Primary Source Annie Besant, The Link (23rd June, 1888) Born in slums, driven to work while still children, undersized because under-fed, oppressed because helpless, flung aside as soon as worked out, who cares if they die or go on to the streets provided only that Bryant & May shareholders get their 23 per cent and Mr. Theodore Bryant can erect statues and buy parks? Girls are used to carry boxes on their heads until the hair is rubbed off and the young heads are bald at fifteen years of age? Country clergymen with shares in Bryant & May's draw down on your knee your fifteen year old daughter; pass your hand tenderly over the silky clustering curls, rejoice in the dainty beauty of the thick, shiny tresses. The Matchgirls’ Strike Annie Besant, William Stead, and Henry Hyde Champion used their newspapers to call for a boycott of Bryant & May matches. The women at the company also decided to form a Matchgirls' Union and Besant agreed to become its leader. After three weeks the company announced that it was willing to re-employ the dismissed women and would also bring an end to the fines system. The women accepted the terms and returned in triumph. The Bryant & May dispute was the first strike by unorganized workers to gain national publicity. It was also successful at helped to inspire the formation of unions all over the country. Matchgirls’: Primary Source The Times (June, 1888) The pity is that the matchgirls have not been suffered to take their own course but have been egged on to strike by irresponsible advisers. No effort has been spared by those pests of the modern industrialized world to bring this quarrel to a head. The Matchgirls’ Strike Effects In 1891 the Salvation Army opened its own match-factory in Old Ford, East London. Only using harmless red phosphorus, the workers were soon producing six million boxes a year. Whereas Bryant & May paid their workers just over two pence a gross, the Salvation Army paid their employees twice this amount. William Booth organised conducted tours of MPs and journalists round this 'model' factory. He also took them to the homes of those "sweated workers" who were working eleven and twelve hours a day producing matches for companies like Bryant & May. The bad publicity that the company received forced the company to reconsider its policy. In 1901, Gilbert Bartholomew, managing director of Bryant & May, announced it had stopped used yellow phosphorus. Combination Acts In 1799 and 1780 the prime minister of England, William Pitt, passed laws that restricted the rights of Unions to get together and strike for better wages and hours. This was obviously highly unpopular and was fought for many years until it was finally taken back in 1824. This led to many strikes that year, so the following year the government put another combination act in to effect. This was a source of anger for groups of peoples who were like the Luddites. Combination Acts Combination Laws was passed making it illegal for workers to join together to press their employers for shorter hours or may pay As a result trade unions were thus effectively made illegal The campaign against the Combination Acts was led by the trade union leader, Francis Place. The Combination Laws remained in force until they were repealled in 1824. This was followed by an outbreak of strikes and as a result the 1825 Combination Act was passed which again imposed limitations on the right to strike. Gagging Acts The Habeas Corpus Act Passed by Parliament in 1679 It guaranteed that a person detained by the authorities would have to be brought before a court of law so that the legality of the detention may be examined. In times of social unrest, Parliament had the power to suspend Habeas Corpus. William Pitt did this in May 1793 during the war with France. Parliamentary reformers such as Thomas Hardy and John Thelwall were imprisoned as a result of this action. Gagging Acts Habeas Corpus was also suspended in January 1817 This occurred after a missile had been thrown through the glass window of the Prince Regent's coach on the way to the opening of Parliament. Supporters of parliamentary reform were blamed for this act of violence Lord Liverpool and his government rushed the Gagging Acts through Parliament. These measures banned meetings of over fifty people and instructed magistrates to arrest everyone suspected of spreading seditious libel Gagging Acts Gagging Acts severely hampered the campaign for parliamentary reform Parliament decided to restore Habeas Corpus in March, 1818, there was a immediate revival in the demands for universal suffrage Six Acts of 1819 Lord Liverpool and his Tory government responded to the Peterloo Massace by introducing the Six Acts. Parliament reassembled on 23rd November, 1819 Lord Sidmouth, the Home Secretary, announced details of what later became known as the Six Acts. By December 30, 1819, Parliament had debated and passed six measures Parliament hoped these Six Acts would: Suppress radical newspapers and meetings Reduce the possibility of an armed uprising Six Acts of 1819 Training Prevention Act A measure which made any person attending a gathering for the purpose of training or drilling liable to arrest. People found guilty of this offence could be sent to the penal colony of Australia for seven years. Seizure of Arms Act A measure that gave power to local magistrates to search any property or person for arms. Seditious Meetings Prevention Act A measure which prohibited the holding of public meetings of more than fifty people without the consent of a sheriff or magistrate. Six Acts of 1819 The Misdemeanours Act A measure that attempted to reduce the delay in the administration of justice. The Basphemous and Seditious Libels Act A measure which provided much stronger punishments, including banishment for publications judged to be blaspemous or sedtious. Newspaper and Stamp Duties Act A measure which subjected certain radical publications which had previously avoided stamp duty by publishing opinion and not news, to such duty. Six Acts of 1819 These measures were opposed by the Whigs They believed the Six Acts were a suppression of popular rights and liberties. They warned that it was unreasonable to pass national laws to deal with problems that only existed in certain areas. The Whigs also warned that these measures would encourage radicals to become even more rebellious Six Acts : A Primary Source Lord Sidmouth, letter to Lord Liverpool about the introduction of the proposed Six Acts (1st October, 1819). “It is with deep regret that the determination to assemble Parliament has been so long delayed. The existing means of stopping the progress, not merely insurrection but rebellion, have long since proved to be utterly insufficient, but hitherto my colleagues have remained unconvinced of the imperious and urgent necessity of advising the adoption of the only measure, which would of itself, animate the loyal and awe the disaffected, and by which alone effectual means can be provided to meet and overcome a danger greater, as I am firmly and deliberately convinced, than any to which the country has been exposed since the accession of the present Royal Family to the throne.” 1867 Masters & Servants Act Trade Unions were unhappy with the 1825 Combination Act that narrowly defined the rights of trade unions as meeting to bargain over wages and conditions. Anything outside these limits was liable to prosecution as criminal conspiracy in restraint of trade. In 1867 Benjamin Disraeli and his Conservative government agreed to pass the Masters and Servants Act. Under the terms of this act strikers could only be prosecuted for breach of contract Criminal action could still be brought for what was described as "aggravated cases". 1871 Trade Union Act The head of the Conservative government, Earl of Derby decided to set up a Royal Commission on Trade Unions in 1867 George Potter, a writer for the Bee-Hive, called for a working man to be included The government rejected the idea of a working man but they did ask Frederic Harrison to serve on the commission. Harrison was a very useful member of the commission He preparing union witnesses by telling them in advance what questions would be asked and rescued the from difficult situations during their cross-examination 1871 Trade Union Act Robert Applegarth, the general secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, was chosen as a union observer of the proceedings. Applegarth checked the various accusations of the employers and provided information to the two pro-union members of the Royal Commission Applegarth also appeared as a witness It was generally accepted that he was the most impressive of all the trade unionists who gave evidence before the commission. 1871 Trade Union Act The three Union Leaders at the commission refused to sign the Majority Report that was hostile to trade unions Instead they produced a Minority Report where he argued that trade unions should be given privileged legal status. Harrison suggested several changes to the law: (1) Persons combining should not be liable for indictment for conspiracy unless their actions would be criminal if committed by a single person (2) The common law doctrine of restraint of trade in its application to trade associations should be repealed (3) That all legislation dealing with specifically with the activities of employers or workmen should be repealed (4) That all trade unions should receive full and positive protection for their funds and other property. 1871 Trade Union Act The Trade Union Congress campaigned to have the Minority Report accepted by the new Liberal government. This campaign was successful and the 1871 Trade Union Act was based largely on the Minority Report. This act secured the legal status of trade unions. As a result of this legislation no trade union could be regarded as criminal because "in restraint of trade"; trade union funds were protected. Although trade unions were victorious with the Trade Union Act they were less fortunate with the Criminal Law Amendment Act passed the same day that made picketing illegal 1875 Conspiracy & Protection of Property Act After the 1874 General Election, Benjamin Disraeli and the Conservative Party formed the government. As promised, Disraeli passed new legislation concerning trade unions. The Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act established the principle that a trade union could not be prosecuted for an act which would be legal if performed by an individual. For example, it was not illegal for an individual to stop work, therefore a union could not be prosecuted if it organized a strike. Under this act peaceful picketing was allowed to take place during industrial disputes 1880 Employer’s Liability Act The Employers' Liability Act extended protection to workers concerning accidents caused by the negligence of managers, superintendents, and foremen. Railway companies were also made liable when their employees were injured through the negligence of signalmen, drivers, and pointsmen. However, the act did not protect employees against accidents caused by fellow workers 1906 Trades Disputes Act In 1901 the Taff Vale Railway Company sued the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants for losses during a strike. As a result of the case the union was fined £23,000. Up until this time it was assumed that unions could not be sued for acts carried out by their members. This court ruling exposed trade unions to being sued every time it was involved in an industrial dispute. After the 1906 General Election the Liberal Government passed the 1906 Trades Disputes Act which removed trade union liability for damage by strike action 1906 Trades Disputes Act: Primary Source J. R. Clynes, Memoirs (1937) Early in 1901 the Taff Vale Railway Company sued the Railwaymen's Union for fantastic damages because of the action of Union men in a trade dispute. After a case, which was conducted on lines which amazed every Labour man in the country, the House of Lords gave a final decision against the Union, which was mulcted of "3,000 damages, and incurred expenses amounting to a further £19,000. Other capitalists were not slow to realize the significance of this judgment! Trade Unions were sued on the most absurd grounds; the Taff Vale decision was quoted as a precedent; and Labour lost action after action. Year(s) Event(s) 1799-1800 Combination Laws: Outlawed unions and strikes. 1867 Disraeli Reform Act: Suffrage for workers. 1875 Repeal of the Combination laws; unions and strikes legalized. Union membership grew as a result. 1900 Labour Party: Founded by bringing together different groups representing trade unions, etc. 1901 Taft Vale Decision: House of Lords ruled that unions would have to pay financial damages caused by strikes (such as loss of income to employers), which threatened to end Britain’s unions. After 1901 Labour Party: Worked for workers’ rights. (Other major British political parties were Liberals and Conservatives.) 1906 Trade Disputes Act: Protected union funds from the Taft Vale court decision. Achieved by Liberal and Labour parties working together. 1909 Osborne Judgment: Banned trade unions from donating funds to political parties. Hurt the Labour party because poorer, working class party members could not provide salaries to party’s elected representatives. 1911 Parliament Act: Stopped the House of Lords from vetoing laws passed by the House of Commons. Paid members of parliament an annual salary. 1920s Labour Party: Surpassed the Liberal party in power. 1940s-1950s Social security: Labour party government brought increased social programs, including socialized medicine, along with government control of several industries (electricity, steel, television).