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Match Girl Strike

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by

Clare Stuart

on 2 April 2013

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Transcript of Match Girl Strike

Clare McDonald-Stuart Who were the match girls?
Where did they work? The match girls were all female teenagers and children that worked at the Bryant and May Factory in Bow, London, during the Industrial Revolution; a factory that produced matches using white phosphorus.
They were paid as little as possible and worked in very poor conditions What were their complaints? The match girls arrived outside of a newspaper office to protest about the unfairness of their work, why 3 workers were fired, the safety and work conditions, and their health problems. White phosphorus contained a chemical that was extremely toxic. Bryant and May agreed to meet all of the female workers demands for them to continue working there. Bryant and May stopped using white phosphorus and swapped to red phosphorus. The British House of Commons passed an act that prohibited using white phosphorus in matches. The workers also started eating in a separate room so their food wouldn't get
contaminated. The Match Girl's Strike Who helped them? What did Bryant and May do to stop the strike? A local journalist, Annie Besant, helped the Match Girls a lot. They had told her about their working conditions and problems as workers. She then published what they had said and Bryant and May's management accused them of lying. The Bryant and May company wanted to break the strike. They threatened to move the factory to Norway or to import new workers to work from Glasgow. This never happened as the public had a lot of say in what happened and the loss of business never appealed to the owners of the company. What was the result of their campaign? How might the event have contributed to the growth of trade unions? What was significant about the strike? The Salvation Army The Salvation Army opened their own match factory in 1891 in the same district of the Bryant and May factory. They used red phosphorus from the start and payed their workers more. The red phosphorus became too expensive so Bryant and May bought The Salvation Army's factory out. Phosphorus "London Matchgirls Strike of 1888." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 01 Mar. 2013.
"The Union Makes Us Strong: TUC History Online." The Union Makes Us Strong: TUC History Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2013.
"White Phosphorus." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 June 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2013. Bibliography As a result of the campaign women who were treated unfairly spoke up. They followed in the Match Girl's footsteps and named and shamed the bosses. The Match Girl Strike wasn't the start of the movement of socialism and unionism, but it did get a lot of public attention towards working conditions and workers safety. Bryant and May used white phosphorus in their matches as it smoked quickly, easily and burnt well. The most phosphorus you should intake at one particular times is 1milligram per 1 kilogram. As little as 15 milligrams can be deadly, further in life it can cause liver, heart and kidney damage. Once the Match Girls had started their own group to try and make changes to their work force, other people followed in their footsteps by striking and speaking out. The main reason of trade unions and trade unionism was to improve and maintain their work conditions. Most trade unions were confined to their own factories and towns rather than one big strike. After the Match Girl's performed their strike the London Dockers' strike followed and proved that effective strikes were possible for small unions, turning into one big trade union, making the strikes more affective. "Be Brave and Stand up for Your Rights , like Those before Us Did. | Labour Rose." Labour Rose. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
"Weapons, Warfare and Industrial Idiocy." : The London Matchgirl's Strike of 1888. Another Chapter in the History of the 99%. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
"Modern School." : Today in Labor HistoryâJuly 5. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Smith, Nigel. The Industrial Revolution. London: Evans Brothers, 2009. Print. Bibliography Facts Worked 14 hour days
Paid 5 shillings a week
Did not always receive full pay
If they were late they were fined 1/2 a days pay
Fined for talking, dropping matches and going to the toilet without permission Workers on strike
- Primary source A drawing of the working conditions in the factory - secondary source A box of Bryant and May's Matches (Flaming fuses) - Primary source Phossy Jaw Phossy Jaw was contracted in the workers when they had to put the head of the match in their mouth to make it stick together. These matches were contaminated with white phosporus and meant the workers were then contaminated with phosphorus necrosis of the jaw, also known as phossy jaw. Phossy jaw resulted in swelling of the gums and toothaches. After so much phosphorus had been injected into the body they had jaw abscess, affected bones would glow in the dark and make the contaminated person give off a dis-pleasant odor. Socialism Socialism is where the government controls how much of a product is made and how it is made. The government says "we want 3000 boxes of matches and they can't include white phosphorus". They would then get the money from the profits as well as the owners of the company. The government would then redistribute the money to the community to mainly the upper-class people and less to the working-class people.
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