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


The Reds and the General Strike, 1926

by Communist Party of Great Britain

image from Red Clydeside collection

During the 'General Strike' CPGB members were active in the many Strike Committees and Councils of Action which had been set up to help coordinate the strike. Communists helped organise picketing, issuing publicity materials and in controlling transport. The party leadership, such as it was, were active lending support to the mining communities of Britain. Twenty-nine speakers were mobilised and 220,000 leaflets were issued in a concentrated fortnight's campaign in Wales, Scotland and Yorkshire. Mass meetings were held in the coalfields and on 14 July the EC reported 3,000 new members since the strike started.

One result of the party's contribution to the strike was a big increase in its membership from 5,000 before the strike to 10,000 by September 1926. But its influence was not great enough to prevent the capitulation by right-wing trade union leaders, who called off the strike when it was still strong, without any gaining any concessions to the miners who battled on alone for a further seven months until hunger brought defeat.

The defeat of the strike led to the introduction of vicious anti trade union legislation in the form of the Trade Union Bill of 1927, sympathetic strikes were outlawed and trade unionists had to opt in rather than opt out of the political levy.

Source: Bissett Collection, Glasgow University Special Collections