'Stay-in' strikers returning to their families, Wales, 1936.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
'Stay-in' strikers being welcomed back by their families at Bedwas, Caerphilly in Wales. The coal mining industry was one of the major battlegrounds in industrial relations between the two World Wars. A stay-in strike is one where the workers remain at their workplace rather than staying away from work, and exercise their protest by downing tools or a go-slow. It was a particularly effective tactic in the mines, as the miners staging a stay-in strike below ground prevented the owners from bringing in 'blackleg' workers from outside to allow the mine to continue operating. In 1936, over 40 miners stayed underground for 54 hours at the North Pit at Bedwas Navigation Colliery, forcing the mine's owners to grant recognition to their trade union, the South Wales Miners' Federation (SWMF).