The London matchgirls’ strike of 1888 was a strike of the women and teenage girls working at the Bryant and May Factory in Bow, London against the conditions.
Meetings were held by the strikers and Annie Besant spoke at some of them. Charles Bradlaugh MP spoke in parliament and a deputation of matchwomen went there to meet three MPs on 11 July. There was much publicity. The London Trades Council became involved. At first the management were firm, but factory owner Bryant was a leading liberal and nervous of the publicity. Besant helped at meetings with the management and terms were formulated at a meeting on 16 July, in accordance with which it was offered that fines, deductions for cost of materials and other unfair deductions should be abolished and that in future grievances could be taken straight to the management without having to involve the foremen, who had prevented the management from knowing of previous complaints. Also, very importantly, meals were to be taken in a separate room, where the food would not be contaminated with phosphorus. These terms were accepted and the strike ended.
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