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


Telegram from William Weir to Lloyd George concerning the Clydeside engineering dispute, 27 Mar 1916

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The climax to the dilution disputes in Glasgow came with a strike of engineering workers in Glasgow which lasted from 17 March through to 4 April 1916. The strike itself had originated at Beardmore's in Parkhead but within days had spread to cover a host of engineering munitions plants throughout the Glasgow region.

These collection of telegrams sent by William Weir, Director of Munitions in Scotland to Lloyd-George and the Ministry of Munitions in London show quite clearly the alarm in Government circles at the CWC led strike and the close cooperation between London and Glasgow to ensure the defeat of the strike

The Government and the Dilution Commissioners were becoming increasingly nervous about events on Clydeside, fearing that the syndicalist inspired CWC were orchestrating a plan to impede the production of munitions. On 24 March 1916 the government deported Kirkwood and three other Beardmores shop stewards under the Defence of the Realm Act. 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.