March 26, 1971
More than 135,000 British workers streamed into Trafalgar Square on Feb. 21 to the strains of the "The Red Flag" and other working-class songs sung by the South Wales Bargoed choir. The demonstration, the largest such action ever organized in Britain, was a protest against the Tory government's proposed antilabor Industrial Relations Bill.
The Industrial Relations Bill embodies the basic features of the American Taft-Harley Act and state right-to-work laws in the United States. The bill comes at a time of mounting unrest among organized labor's ranks in Britain. A strike by nearly a quarter million postal workers, which completely paralyzed the mails, telegraphs and telephones for 47 days, came to an end when the workers voted to return to work March 6. It was the longest strike in Britain since the 1926 coal miners strike. The workers voted to end the strike. The workers voted to end the strike two days after their leadership agreed to binding arbitration.
Five days before the postal strike ended, more than a million workers took part in a one-day general strike against the union-busting Industrial Relations Bill. The cost of the one-day strike to British industry was estimated at $25 million.
The March 1 general strike was carried out in the face of opposition from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) General Council, the official tradeunion leadership in Britain.
March 23, 1946
NEW YORK, March 10 - Delayed letters and clippings from Manila, P.I., have arrived here telling the hitherto censored story of the unsuccessful attempt last month of Army brass hats in the Philippines to force American merchant seamen on 40 ships in Manila harbor to scab on striking Filipino longshoremen.
Two thousand merchant seamen belonging to the CIO National Maritime Union, AFL Seafarers International Union, Independent Marine Firemen's Union, CIO Marine Cooks and Stewards, and other smaller unions refused to be used as scabs by the army in its attempt to break the strike.
The direct order from the labor-hating brass hats was to no avail. The seamen stood solid in their opposition to the strike- breaking order. Six seamen were arrested by the army and charged with refusal to obey a "lawful order under the Articles of War."
The arrests and arrogant provocations by the military brass drew a stormy reaction from the merchant seamen in the harbor. A Seamen's Strike and Sympathy Committee was organized and funds were immediately collected for the defense of the arrested men and also to aid the strikers.
Telling the brass, "you know what you can do with your order," the two thousand merchant seamen stood solidly together, all rival affiliations forgotten. This had an extremely heartening effect upon the Filipino strikers.
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home