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Apprentices strike, 1937

Apprentices were 'bound' to their employers for several years by indentures, which strictly forbade any indiscipline (including strike action). By the mid-1930s, young workers in engineering and shipbuilding were complaining at the lack of adequate structured training (the employer's responsibility under the indenture) and the low wages. Under the slogan 'all for one and one for all', a strike started on Clydeside, Scotland in spring 1937 and by April, there were 3700 apprentices out.

However, 500 girls who tried to join the strikers were turned away. The strike was ended after national negotiations started between the unions and employers, only to break out again in Salford in September, when talks were seen to be non-productive. The strikes spread to Yorkshire, the Midlands and London and only ended in October, when the Amalgamated Engineering Union secured the right to negotiate on behalf of all apprentices. Many local agreements gave boys large increases, and their wage rates were tied into advances won by adult skilled men.

Title Apprentices strike, 1937
Maker --
Production Date 1937
Format Photograph
Copyright --
Holding Institution TUC Library Collections, London Metropolitan University
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