Hard Times: Industrial trouble and strife

Our newest community reporter Spring Heeled Jack has written a series of short articles which we will share over the next few weeks.

Here is the latest installment of Hard Times.


Industrial trouble and strife

The 1970s were a difficult time for politicians of all parties and the British people due to industrial unrest leading to many strikes taking place on an ever increasing basis.

Some of these strikes were justifiable where many people were paid very low wages; working conditions were poor for employees where many employers cared little about health and safety at work.

On the other, hand, some employers were targeted unfairly by powerful union bosses who would create workplace unrest and cause wildcat strikes.

Employees in the 1960s and 1970s would at that time simply walk out of their workplace with no prior warning, causing mayhem for the employers who consequently could not meet their obligations to its customers.

The wildcat strikes and industrial strife reached a turning point during the Heath government tenure in 1972 and again in 1974.

The first major miners’ strike led to fuel shortages and to the 3 day week working for many companies.

In addition, the miners’ leaders led by Joe Gormley, Arthur Scargill and Michael McGahey in Scotland meant that pits were blockaded by pickets and coal could not be moved to provide essential fuel for both domestic and business use in the UK.

This led to power cuts daily where people had no electricity, heating or lighting due to the shortage of coal to run power stations.

Ted Heath was consequently forced to call a general election in 1974 because of the serious industrial problems and Harold Wilson was then successfully returned as the Labour Prime Minister.

Media comments made at that time were about powerful trade union bosses turning up at 10 Downing Street to partake in beer and sandwiches with the new Prime Minister.

However, these strikes lived long in the memory of many British people who had to live through some very cold winters often with no heating or light at home each day.

The power of the unions and their leaders’ willingness to be involved in constant industrial conflict continued throughout the 1970s.

Wilson retired in 1976 and was replaced by James Callaghan who was the former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Home Secretary.


Article submitted by Spring Heeled Jack.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not the Digital Sentinel.

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