Strike for Better Wages
DESCRIPTION: "At the docks there is a strike that the company don't like...." "Strike, boys, strike for better wages... Go on fighting at the docks... Go on fighting till the bosses they give way." The singer pities the jobless seeking work. The strikes won't give in
EARLIEST DATE: 1954 (collected by Ewan MacColl); supposedly dates to 1890
KEYWORDS: strike labor-movement poverty
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
ADDITIONAL: Norman Buchan, "Folk and Protest," in Edward J. Cowan, editor, _The People's Past: Scottish Folk, Scottish History_ 1980 (I use the 1993 Polygon paperback edition), pp. 165-166, "(no title)" (1 text)
NOTES: Buchan dates this to 1890 and the Dockers' Tanner strike. This seems likely enough, given the slight air of unreality about it -- there are people desperate for jobs on the docks, so the workers who are already there deserve a pay raise? Strange economics....
I have to admit that I'm rather doubtful as to whether the song is traditional. There is only one collection known to Roud, and Ewan MacColl is credited with collecting it. We will probably never entirely resolve the issue of how much MacColl genuinely collected, and how much he rewrote. I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt -- but less so on labor songs than ordinary folk songs. This feels like a plant to me. - RBW
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