On This Day: 1889 – Start of the Great Dock Strike

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The London Dock Strike Finance Committee, including Ben Tillett, John Burns and Tom Mann. 1889

On August 14th 1889 the London Dock Strike began, precipitated by the Tea Operatives’ and General Labourers’ Association led by Ben Tillett, and quickly supported by larger and stronger unions representing many different trades on the docks.

In combination with the highly publicised Matchworkers Strike of 1888, this became a period known as “New Unionism”, when a series of industrial disputes took place across the country and a large number of new unions were formed.

Ben Tillett (1860-1943), founder and secretary of the Tea Operatives’ and General Labourers’ Union during the Great Dock Strike

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