BRITAIN: Headed Toward a Showdown

Britain. January 1972. Prime Minister Edward Heath declares that he will not give in to a 25% wage hike demanded by British coal miners because it is far beyond his 8% national wage guidelines. The miners strike for seven weeks, causing power blackouts, layoffs of tens of thousands of other workers and widespread industrial chaos. Finally, Heath appoints a special commission to arbitrate the miners' demands. The commission recommends a 21% wage increase. Both sides accept. The crisis is settled.

That scenario, at least in its essentials, now appears destined to be repeated in Britain, although the denouement this time...

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