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


Deportation of CWC leaders 1916, 1 April 1916

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On 14 March 1916 a works manager refused Shop Steward's convener, David Kirkwood, access to new female dilutees at Beardmores of Parkhead. This act was to lead directly to a series of events which would become known as the 'The Crisis of March 1916'.

On 17th March workers at Beardmores struck work in support of the reinstatement of shop stewards privileges for David Kirkwood and by 21st March they were joined by striking workers at the Diesel works in Whiteinch and also engineering workers at both Dalmuirs and Weirs.

These strikes were interpreted by the government as a devious CWC plan to impede the production of munitions and the government acted swiftly to defuse the situation. On the 24th March 1916 five leading members of the CWC were deported under military orders to Edinburgh. This course of action by the government was to effectively break the opposition to the implementation of dilution in the engineering industries on Clydeside as well as signalling the demise of the CWC and their loss of influence within Clydeside trade unionism for the duration of the war.