The Bluffer's Briefing: Strikes

1153 BC: Workers on the tomb of Rameses III stage a sit-down strike against government failure to handle the economy and deliver grain rations on time.

1768: First recorded use of 'strike' to mean the withdrawal of labour: 'This day the hatters struck and refused to work, till their waged are raised.' (Annual Register).

1877: First National Rail strike in United States. Nineteen killed when police and cavalry charge striking railmen.

1911: The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, says strikers are endangering the country's industrial wealth and other men's jobs. A verdict of justifiable homicide is later returned in a case of two strikers shot dead by troops in Llanelli.

1920: Under the Emergency Powers Act, the Government may proclaim a state of emergency if the essentials of life are threatened. Such states of emergency have only ever been invoked to deal with strikes.

1926: The nine-day general strike, in which 162 million working days are lost.

1961: End of world's longest strike as barbers' assistants in the Danish capital Copenhagen return to work after a dispute lasting 33 years.

1973: State of emergency and three-day week declared during coal and electricity strike. A 10.30pm curfew is imposed on TV programmes.

1991: 761,000 working days lost in strikes; the lowest on record.

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