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The Cynosure

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"Mr. Pugh was continually pressed and questioned by Mr. Herbert Smith (the M.F.G.B. president), myself, and my colleagues as to what the guarantees mentioned were, and who had given them. We got no answer."

-A.J. Cook: The Nine Days

The miners' leaders contemptuously rejected the shufflings of the General Council and expressed their determination to carry on the fight. The Council deputation then went to 10 Downing Street and Pugh, addressing Baldwin, said:

"We are here to-day, sir, to say that this General Strike is to be terminated forthwith in order that negotiations may proceed."

Wednesday, May 12th, 1926

Once again workers looked at one another with bitter eyes and said "We are betrayed!"

Immediately the police terror was renewed. The number of arrests increased after the strikes, and baton charges continued. On the night of Wednesday, May 12th a meeting of dockers was being held outside Poplar Town Hall when a lorry full of police drove through the crowd scattering injured people to each side. Father Groser, the Vicar, held up a crucifix and told the police the meeting was peaceful. He too was batoned. The same night a vanload of police was driven to the headquarters of the Popular branch of the National Union of Railwaymen. Without warning the police charged into the building and batoned all with reach.

When the strikers returned to their places of work the following day hundreds of thousands of them were met by cictimisation, demands for non-unionism, wage reductions or dismissals. The railwaymen were the chief victims and spontaneously renewed the strike. The threat of a new General Strike without the leaders curbed the viciousness of the employers' attack, yet even then thousands of men were victimized In sullen anger the workers returned and the miners were left to fight alone until November when, driven by hunger, they accepted defeat. Wages were cut, the working day was increased from seven to eight hours and district agreements replaced the national agreement.

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