Match Girls' strike

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Annie Besant (1847—1933) theosophist and politician in India

trade union


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A landmark industrial dispute in Britain. It involved the girls at the factory of Bryant and May in the East End of London, who complained about their low pay and the disfigurement of the jaw, nicknamed “phossy jaw”, caused by the phosphorus used in match-making. Annie Besant, a journalist and a Fabian, organized their strike. Demonstrations, partly to show their disfigurement, won public sympathy. Their success in gaining an increase in pay was a small-scale prelude to the growing strength of trade unionism.

Subjects: World History.

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