National coal strike of 1912

The national coal strike of 1912 was the first national strike by coal miners in Britain. Its main goal was securing a minimum wage. After 37 days the government intervened and ended the strike by passing a minimum wage law.[1]

The dispute centred upon an attempt by the Miners Federation of Great Britain, the main trade union representing coal miners, to secure a minimum wage for miners in their district, and to replace the complicated wage structure then in place, which often made it difficult for a miner to earn a fair days wage. The same issues had caused a major dispute the previous year in South Wales, and had become a national issue. The strike was a repeat of the unsuccessful strike of 1894, which also sought a minimum wage.

The strike began at the end of February in Alfreton, Derbyshire and spread nationwide. Nearly one million miners took part. It ended on 6 April, after 37 days.[2] The Coal Mines (Minimum Wage) Act 1912 was a result of the strike.

The strike caused considerable disruption to train and shipping schedules.

External links


  1. Brian R. Mitchell (1984). Economic Development of the British Coal Industry, 1800-1914. CUP Archive. pp. 190–1.
  2. Manchester Guardian 8 April 1912
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