Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Report on the stay-in strike in the Gun Dept of Messrs Wm. Beardmore & Co Ltd, Dalmuir, Dec 1915

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The climax of the dilution struggle on Clydeside came with a strike at Beardmores' engineering works at Parkhead in the East End of Glasgow which lasted from 17 March to 4 April 1916. This strike and the workers defeat which followed signalled the end of serious trouble concerning dilution on Clydeside and marked the loss of industrial influence for the CWC for the duration of the war.

The strike itself was triggered by Beardmores management refusal to allow shop stewards' convener David Kirkwood access to new female dilutees. Management at the factory advised Kirkwood that any further attempt at interference would lead not only to his own dismissal but also that of other CWC shop stewards in the factory. Access to new employees was seen as a fundamental right by the shop stewards, and in protest at management's revocation of this right the shop stewards at Beardmores went on strike.

On 24 March 1916 the government deported Kirkwood and three other Beardmores shop stewards under the Defence of the Realm Act Regulation 14 and on 28 March three more shop stewards from Weir's (one of the factories were workers were on strike in sympathy with the Beardmores workers) were also deported. Those deported were sent to Edinburgh where they had to report to the police three times daily. They returned to Glasgow on the 14 June 1917 when restrictions were lifted.