War and the transformation of British society c1903–28
Key Topic 1: The Liberals, votes for women and social reform
Key Topic 2: The part played by the British on the Western Front
The BEF and 1914. Overview
The end of the war. Overview
Key Topic 3: The home front and social change
DORA, censorship and propaganda. Overview
Recruitment and rationing. Overview
The part played by women. Overview
Key Topic 4: Economic and social change 1918–28
The changing role of women 1918–28. Overview
The General Strike of 1926. Overview
Friday 15th, 1921 is referred to as 'Black Friday.' This is because it marked a change in the ay that Unions worked alongside each other - the 'Black' part of the name coming from the widespread view that union leaders were betraying workers.
The decision that led to this day being called Black Friday was one by the leaders of the transport and rail unions to NOT strike in support of the miners union. Miners had suffered wage cuts and poor conditions since the end of the First World War and there had been a period of industrial action. It was widely expected that other unions would support workers when this was the case and engage in sympathy strikes and other forms of Industrial action. The decision not to strike in support of the Miners was therefore a break with previous practice and was seen by many union members as a betrayal of the miners, as on their own their actions were likely to be less effective. The decision not to strike also saw the end of the 'Triple Alliance' of rail, transport and miners unions who had agreed to work together.
Reasons why the rail and transport unions chose not to strike:
- it was claimed that the miners themselves were not willing to strike over the changes to pay and conditions.
- there was very high unemployment at the time and there would possibly have been little sympathy for the miners from the general public.
Black Friday 1921 - Wikipedia article
National Archives - Black Friday, the Cabinet papers