Triple Alliance (1914)

Triple Alliance (1914)

:"The Triple Alliance is not to be confused with the Triple Entente."The Triple Alliance included the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Union of Railwaymen and the National Transport Workers' Federation, the last-named being an association of various different unions for dockers, seamen, tramwaymen and road vehicle workers. The formation of the alliance followed a period of rapid trade union growth and widespread strike action - the 'Great Unrest' of 1910-1914 - and appeared to signal a significant step towards greater unity within trade unionism. However, in practice, the Triple Alliance failed to secure unified action among its constituent members. Its major test came in April 1921 when wage reductions were imposed on miners as the industry returned to private hands, following a period of State control during wartime. Following some confusion over what terms the Miners' Union would be prepared to accept, the transport workers' and railwaymen's unions decided not to call their members out on strike in sympathy with the miners. This event, 'Black Friday', was regarded by many socialists and trade unionists as a betrayal of solidarity and a major defeat for trade unionism.

However, the Triple Alliance arguably played a large part in securing government subsidies for miners' wages in July 1925 on Red Friday. The Triple Alliance agreed to back the miners in their dispute against the miner owners who had announced future wage cuts and increasing work hours a month previously, threatening a complete halt to the production and transport of coal.

The name was perhaps unfortunate, as it was the same as the Triple Alliance (1882) of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy who would go to war with Britain (apart from Italy) the same year.

References

*Ken Coates & Tony Topham, "The Making of the Labour Movement", (Nottingham, 1994), ISBN 0-85124-565-X
*Keith Laybourn, "The General Strike", (London, 1999), ISBN 0-7509-2254-0


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