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111
The Great Strike

had paid their coachman his share of the plunder. The companies and proprietors were well aware that the men had been in the habit of keeping back a portion of the daily earnings, but it is doubtful whether they knew the extent to which the practice had grown, for 'busmen, before the strike, were too cautious to talk of what they earned. It was only years after that they began to speak regretfully, and yet with pride, of the prosperous days which preceded the introduction of the ticket system. However, the companies and proprietors promised the men an increase in their wages, to atone for the pilferings which had been winked at. But the additional money promised—two shillings a day—did not make the men's income anything like as large as that to which they were accustomed, and, in their wrath, they vowed to strike. On the night of Saturday, May 6, 1891, after the majority of omnibuses had finished running, large meetings of 'busmen were held in various parts of London, and, amidst intense enthusiasm, the men pledged themselves not to return to work until their grievance had been satisfied. The following morning the strike began all over London, the Road