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Policemen join the strikers

07 September 2018

September 6th, 1918.

PERHAPS the best comment on the Metropolitan Policemen’s Strike, now fortunately settled, was the remark of Mr Victor Grayson: “Who ever heard of a soldier who, when told to stand by, replied: ‘What about that 12½ per cent. war bonus?’” That seems to sum up the whole situation as regards the men’s conduct, for they are in a different category from the Labour world: they are servants of the State, under discipline, and one of their duties is to protect the community against any danger resulting from strikes. Therefore, we should expect them to be the last men to strike. Having said this, we are bound to admit that they had a grievance which the Home Office was supposed to be considering but had delayed for an inordinately long time to redress. As in the case of so many Labour disputes, in which employers have not shown intelligent anticipation, and, in consequence, have been compelled to grant in full demands that might otherwise have been abated, so here the policemen have obtained practically all that they struck for. We all seem to be agreed that their pay ought to have been increased at once, and, though their conduct in striking was indefensible, yet we cannot withhold from them our sympathy. Public bodies make bad employers. First it is the teachers, then the tram women, and now the police, to be followed shortly by the firemen — all striking because no one will pay attention to their grievances.

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