During July of 1888 the women and girls who worked at the east London, Brayant and May match factory went on strike. The workers in the factory were paid very little and would lose pay for actions such as talking or using the bathroom during their 14 hour day. Health was also an issue, many of the match girls would develop what was called phossy jaw, a bone cancer they got from working with phosphorous. An article written in Reynold’s Newspaper on the eighth of July states three reasons behind the 1,400 workers going on strike. One reason was because of the work conditions. Another was that two girls were fired because they gave information to Annie Besant who wrote an article for her paper The Link called “White Slavery in London”. The manager had said they went on strike because one girl was fired because she did not fill the boxes in a particular way.
Source: British Library. “Newspaper article: Match Girls Strike, 1888”. http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/dickens/industrialisation/matchgirls/article.html.