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


General Strike report of the Glasgow branch of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, May 1926

image from Red Clydeside collection

The General Strike took place between 3 May and 12 May 1926 and was called by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to defend "miners' wages and hours". It had been planned that initially only workers in front-line industries, such as the dockers, printers, railway and transport workers and builders, would come out on strike but many second-line workers, those employed in the textile industries for example, also stopped work. The General Council planned that only later in the dispute would other occupations like the engineers and shipyard workers be called out on strike.

There was a great deal of dissatisfaction amongst engineering and shipyard workers at the General Councils decision to keep them in reserve during the first week of the strike. Many workers within these trades wanted the opportunity to show their solidarity with the rest of the striking population and many felt that calling them out on strike would have given the strike a fresh impetus.

The decision not to bring out the engineering and shipbuilding workers until later on in the strike explains the relatively slight impact of the General Strike in Glasgow. These two industries were the largest employers of men in the Glasgow region and both trades had a strong militant tradition. The order from the STUC to withdraw labour from the shipyards and engineering shops came on the 11th May. The response from the workers was overwhelming but within a few hours of joining their comrades on strike the TUC had called off the General Strike.

Source: Glasgow Trades Council Collection, Glasgow City Archives