Sheffield Outrages

In 1886 trade unionists in Sheffield were accused of using arson and murder to intimidate non-unionists. The image of trade unions was also damaged by the revelation that William Broadhead, secretary of the Grinders Union, had paid £20 to a man to murder an employer. The leaders of the Trade Union Congress claimed that these incidents were just the work of a few individuals and that the best way to improve industrial relations was to remove the legal constraints upon the status and funds of unions. As a result of the Sheffield Outrages the leader of the Conservative government, Earl of Derby, decided to set up a Royal Commission on Trade Unions.