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1918-1939 Unemployment The General Strike The Spanish Civil War
TUC National Unemployment Demonstration, February 1933


The unemployed in the inter-war years were not passive. The National Unemployed Workers Movement was established in 1921 and campaigned for the next twenty-five years under the slogan of 'Work or Full Maintenance'. Led by Wal Hannington, it was responsible for using daring and innovative methods of protest including Hunger Marches, factory raids to protest against overtime working and mass demonstrations often aimed in particular at Poor Law Guardians.

The TUC launched its campaign in the 1930's. Fearing the communist influence in the NUWM, the TUC called upon trades councils to establish local unemployed associations. These were supposed to organise recreational activities for those on the dole. In 1933 the TUC organised a massive national demonstration against unemployment in 21 towns and cities throughout Britain.

Professor Mary Davis, Centre for Trade Union Studies, London Metropolitan University.
Margaret Bondfield, 1921 Food lorry with an armoured car escort, General Strike, 1926
  A.J. Cook speaking in Trafalgar Square   The unemployment benefit demonstration by National Federation of Women Workers, 1920  
  Medal - Daily Herald Order of Industrial Heroism   Men or Machines  
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