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


Telegram from William Weir to Lloyd George concerning the Clydeside engineering dispute, 24 Mar 1916

image from Red Clydeside collection

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. These collection of telegrams, sent by William Weir Director of Munitions in Scotland to Lloyd-George and the Ministry of Munitions in London, shows 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.

On 24 March 1916 the government deported Kirkwood and three other Beardmores shop stewards under the Defence of the Realm Act 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.

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.

Source: Weir Papers, Glasgow University Archives