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Protest goes poof among British labor

A one-day protest action called Wednesday by Britain's Trades Union Congress against the economic policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher fizzled out, Monitor correspondent Rushworth Kidder reports. Observers in London see the collapse as a clear message to union leaders to keep out of political disruption and let workers work.

The description most commonly heard was "a flop." Fleet Street was perhaps hardest hit, with no national newspapers appearing. District offices of the Department of Employment around the country spoke of 5 to 10 percent absenteeism , with more in traditionally militant Wales and Scotland.

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Observers caution against seeing the strike as the demise of trade union power. But the government, without doing handsprings, is obviously pleased that its policies have survived what might have been a public-opinion blast.

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