In 1918 five nurses were victimised for wearing National Asylum Workers Union badges. Nurse Hawken had organised 62 of the 70 staff into the union and they stopped work in protest. The strikers held out until all were allowed back under the banner of ‘All or None’. With lots of local support they won reinstatement, recognition of the union and the right to keep the badges on.
In 1919, the Asylum union was not so successful in a bitter dispute in Exeter. Union rep, Phillip Glanville, was sacked and nurses went on strike in his defence.
On 12th July more than 1,800 people marched through Exeter but despite local trade union support and the threat of a national strike the City Council refused to accept arbitration and the dispute ended in defeat.