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


Permit issued by TUC allowing courier freedom of movement during General Strike, May 1926

image from Red Clydeside collection

During the General Strike of 1926 the General Council of the TUC assumed responsibility for the nationwide planning of the strike on behalf of the workers. The initial plan involved bringing out 3 million workers involved in the key occupations such as, railwaymen, transport workers, dockers and printers. This was to be backed up by bringing out an estimated 750,000 men employed in the engineering and shipbuilding industries at a later stage in the strike.

Whilst the General Council of the TUC took overall control of national planning of the General Strike, it was bodies such as the Trades Councils and the newly formed Central Strike Coordinating Committees who organised the strike at the regional and district levels. In addition to these regional and district bodies Local Area Strike Committees were also formed as a means of keeping in close with rank and file strikers.

The maintenance of communication was one of the main functions of the local Strike Committees and channels of communication could only be effectively maintained in strike conditions by the issuing of strike permits which allowed couriers to travel across the country with permission to pass through picket lines. Couriers carried instructions from TUC headquarters to the Central and Local Strike Committees and to individual trade unions and back came reports from the grass roots on levels of support, strike breaking incidents and requests or advice.

Source: Glasgow Trades Council Collection, Glasgow City Archives