The Great Dock Strike of 1889
|The Mansion House Committee|
Pressure on the employers
At the beginning of September pressure was mounting on the employers to resolve the strike. They still seemed unwilling to make concessions even though ship-owners and wharfingers were increasingly critical of the dock companies' stubbornness.
Henry Lafone, manager of Butler's Wharf, held separate negotiations with the strike committee. He paid his 300 men on strike 1s each a day, including Saturday and Sunday. Lafone worked hard to bring about a satisfactory settlement and his own wharf was soon unloading ships.
Revolt by the ship-owners
Sir Thomas Sutherland (1834-1922), Chairman of the P&O Company, even suggested that the ship-owners might take over the unloading of ships.
There was also the threat that the dispute would develop into a general strike in London and this finally prompted action.
On 5 September, when the strike was in its fourth week, the Lord Mayor of London formed the Mansion House Committee.
Its aim was to try to bring the two sides together to end the strike. Ben Tillett and John Burns represented the dockers at the negotiations.
The Mansion House Committee persuaded the employers to meet practically all the dockers' demands. After five weeks the Dock Strike was over. It was agreed that the men would go back to work on 16 September.
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