Sounds like a bit of lefty oh-the-poor-suffering-masses historical
revisionism to me, Jonah.
In my home county (Northamptonshire) there was a much better-established
tradition of farm laborers who got dismissed from their jobs, usually for
drunkenness, setting fire to the offending farmer’s barn by way of revenge.
A large wooden barn full of hay was a much more tempting target for a
disgruntled employee than a brick-built laborer’s hovel was for a
disgruntled employer. And where would the farmer put the replacement
employee, anyway? The work had to be done by someone.