The Engineers' Strike of 1915

In February 1915 around 10,000 engineering workers across Clydeside, including employees of Fairfield shipyard in Govan, co-ordinated an unofficial strike action. The strikers demanded higher wages to offset inflated living costs and to match the wages of workers who were brought over from America. 


The British government responded to the growing unrest among munitions and shipbuilding workers with emergency legislation known as the Munitions of War Act. The act gave the Ministry of Munitions direct control over the factories involved in war production, as well as suspending trade union practices and making industrial strike action illegal for the duration of the war.


Without union support, workers set up the Clyde Workers Committee to campaign against the MWA. Chaired by Willie Gallacher, the CWC went on to organise the infamous 40 hour strikes of 1919, also known as ‘Bloody Friday’.

If you would like to explore our Clyde shipbuilding collections, we hold records for a number of firms including Fairfields. These records include press-cuttings, photographs, minute books and wage sheets, among other items.


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