On this day in history : 23rd July 1957 – As a strike by busmen enters its fourth day there are violent scenes in towns and villages across the country….

Image via Pinterest

Around 100,000 employees of provincial bus companies had walked out on strike a few days before…. They were demanding a pay rise of £1 per week – but to date their employers had only offered 3 shillings per week, claiming this more than compensated for the rise in the cost of living since the last pay rise of 5 shillings the previous November….

Things had become heated – with anger directed particularly at those who had chosen to continue working…. Buses were vandalised, including those with passengers onboard….windows were smashed, tyres slashed and strike-breaking drivers were attacked…. One driver in Derbyshire needed hospital treatment after being hit in the stomach with an iron bar…. Another was pulled from his bus in Yorkshire, hit in the mouth and kicked in the stomach; the windows and headlights of his bus were smashed…. The Transport and General Workers Union refused to admit their members were responsible….

All things considered the strike action actually had very little effect on industry….factories, offices, shops and mines all across the land remained fully staffed…. While many work colleagues organised car shares, train companies reported that business was up by 25%…. Some employers laid on coaches to ferry their workers to and from the stations….

Whitlesea Bus Service – Alan Farrow via Flickr

On the 26th of July the Industrial Disputes Tribunal awarded the busmen an increase of 11 shillings, which was just over 50% of what they had asked for…. The following week bus drivers in cities such as London and Manchester, who had not officially been part of the strike action, accepted their employers’ offer for a pay rise equalling to the same amount…. As an aftermath a motion for a full inquiry into the violence that had occurred was tabled by a group of 11 Conservative MPs….

London Country Vintage Bus Running Day – Jason Thompson via Flickr

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