I was planning on writing my own article on this today, however due to problems with the server my time was wasted elsewhere, instead I'll point to an article written 5 years ago on the subject by Socialist Appeal; Britain 1926 General Strike: On the Verge of Revolution:
75 years ago an earthquake shook the very foundations of British capitalism. In the greatest display of militant power in its history the British working class moved into action in the General Strike of 1926. For 9 days, from May 3, not a wheel turned nor a light shone without the permission of the working class. In such a moment, with such power, surely it ought to have been possible to have transformed society? How can such a position have ended in defeat?
The 1926 General Strike did not fall from a clear blue sky. During the first world war the miners, railway workers and dockers had formed the Triple Alliance of nearly a million and a half workers. At the height of the upsurge in class struggle in 1919 only the deception of the government and the vacillation of the leaders of these unions prevented an all out confrontation. In the summer of 1920 the Labour and TUC leaders for the first time threatened a general strike in the event of any renewed intervention by Britain against the young workers state in Russia. Months later in 1921 the confrontation was to come to a head when the government announced that it was relinquishing control of the mines. The coal owners immediately announced drastic wage cuts. The Miners Federation rejected their attack and the miners were locked out on March 31.
The movement in 1921 was like the prologue of the events to follow just five years later. Troops were dispatched to the coalfields. The Triple Alliance pledged to join the miners fight on April 15. On the eve, however, The Miners' Federation (The Fed) secretary Frank Hodges announced that a compromise was possible on the basis of local bargaining. This was decisively rejected by his own executive, but was seized upon by the other union leaders as an excuse to bow out. Strike notices were withdrawn and April 15 is remembered as Black Friday. The miners were left isolated. After a courageous struggle lasting three months they were defeated. Wages were scythed down by 10-40 % almost everywhere.
Not for the last time, the defeat of the miners had a big impact on other workers. Amongst the miners themselves, anger with the government was matched by anger at the betrayal of Jimmy Thomas, the leader of the railway workers union. This betrayal was to be repeated on a far grander scale in 1926.