Dock Strike 1889

Unite Education: THE GREAT DOCK STRIKE OF 1889


Above : Dock Strike in Leith

“As a former docker brought up on stories of great struggles it thus gives me extra special pleasure to write the foreword on the Great London Dock Strike of 1889 that was the foundation stone on which the modern trade union movement is based. Before 1889 trade union membership was largely the preserve of skilled craftsmen. The dock labourer’s achievement – assisted by magnificent international solidarity from Australia – lay in convincing other unskilled workers that improvements in pay and working conditions could be won through trade union activity.

Nothing was to ever be the same again. Our great union does, of course, have its own origins in the 1889 Strike. This booklet is, therefore, a salute to those who led and participated in the momentous events of August and September 1889 and a sign of our commitment to an ongoing collective struggle for a better future for all working people.”

Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary

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