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


Fifteen thousand Glasgow tenants on strike, 30 Oct 1915

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This report written in October 1915 stated that over 15,000 Clydeside tenants were withholding rents in protest at increases by landlords. However, it is now widely agreed that these numbers were deliberately exaggerated by the ILP as a means of encouraging others to participate in the strike and to encourage the extension of the strike throughout Clydeside.

These numbers would also have effected the way government viewed what they considered an increasingly volatile situation in Glasgow. By the Autumn of 1915 the government had every reason to believe that its authority was being sleriously undermined on Clydeside. Engineering workers were promising to do everything in their power to prevent the implementation of dilution in the munitions workshops and the munitions districts themselves had been in a state of mini-revolt over the question of rent increases since February of that year.

Given the perilous military situation with the British Army in France, Lloyd-George determined that statutory restrictions on working class rents were a political necessity to ensure the continuing production of armaments. The Rent Restrictions Act was promptly placed on the statute books in November 1915. This Act ensured that all working class rents remained at pre-war levels for the remainder of the war.