Long before ‘Black Friday’ became the name for the first day of the Christmas shopping season, it was the name that the labour movement gave to the day on which trade union leaders inflicted a defeat on their own movement. It happened exactly one hundred years ago, on 15 April 1921.
Back before barring blacks became banned
Bristol buses blocked brown-skinned blokes becoming buscrew
But better Bristolians batted back
bit the bullet and boycotted the buses
Bent-backed, booted bipeds bicycled,
as bitter brushes blazed between bile and benevolence
Bands of brave, belligerent banner-bearers
branded the ban biased, barbarous balderdash
This story of colour bars in the UK railway and bus industries begins after the Second World War, when Britain had a labour shortage and people moved to Britain in increasing numbers from Caribbean countries and elsewhere.
NUR Opposes Racism
The last issue of RMT News contained a useful pull-out on the historic 1919 railway strike. It captured some of the excitement of the action and its success in beating back pay cuts. The strikers and their supporters are heroes of our history and deserve to be remembered and honoured.