The General Strike began in 1958. It provided blacks with opportunities to challenge the minority government with their bias attitudes.
1957 of November, the government granted exclusive license to white taxi drivers where they can transport tourist from the newly opened airport at Windsor’s Field. Infuriating the black taxi drivers who proceeded to form a blockade with their vehicles. The blockade was removed but later the government had promised changes.
The need of severe labour reform was never fully addressed. The Bahamas Federation of Labour (BFL) under the leadership of Randol Fawkes, took on the leading of General Strike. Also being assisted by Lynden Pindling. Sir Randol Fawkes then called for all sanitation workers, hotel workers, public servants and teachers to strike in order to reinforce the government the government to address all labour issues in the country. 1958 of January the strike had began and almost immediately the increasing tourist industry was stopped because of the striking workers. The realization of the profits of tourism being decreased if the labour agreement was not forthcoming. Over the next few days the walkout grew into a general strike that immobilized much of the economic life in New Providence for some nineteen (19) days.
The strike that ended on 31 January there was no violence even though the situation was made even more tense by the little deployment of a regiment of troops to New Providence. The fundamental issue that was the spark for the General Strike, that of tour cars transporting passengers directly to and from the airport has never been conclusively settled, even to this day.After the strike there were several improvements such as : the Taxi Cab Union was given the opportunity to sit and bargain on equal footing with those who govern the country, the opportunity for collective bargaining was established, the foundation was laid for the right of women to vote for the first time in The Bahamas, poor working-class Bahamians such as hotel workers, stevedores, and others gained the right to become unionized the seats in the House of Assembly were redistributed according to the distribution of the population, the life of the House of Assembly was shortened to 5 years, and elections would take place on one day to eliminate the practice of persons who had property in various constituencies voting in each constituency.
It also prevented owners of businesses or companies from voting in constituencies where they owned businesses or had companies. The Secretary of State for the colonies came to Nassau in June 1958 and ordered the first constitutional steps toward Majority Rule. The steps were as follows: the company vote was abolished; every man must vote whether he had land or not , the unlimited plural vote was reduced to two, as it could not be justified ,the island of New Providence, which only had eight seats in the House of Assembly of 29 seats, received four more seats; and the enactment of labor legislation was ordered, which led to the establishment of a Labor Department . The result of the General was far beyond outreached.
Industrial Conciliation Act and the Trade Unions laws were passed. Establishing the right for unions to demonstrate and form, creating a Lobour Department headed by a chief industrial officer. The Labour Office obeyed this law , that was responsible for dealing with all matters to work’s wages, welfare, insurance and family allotments. Above all the General Strike was more than significant because it was a well organized , peaceful demonstration that raised the awareness and consciousness of black Bahamians.