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Forty Hours Strike, 1919

A special conference called by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) in December 1918 confirmed STUC war time policy that following demobilisation there should be a reduction in the working week to forty hours. Under pressure from the Clyde Workers' Committee, a general strike in support of the policy was called for 27 January 1919. The strike spread from Glasgow to other Scottish cities involving over 70,000 workers and there were simultaneous stoppages in London and Belfast. During a large demonstration in George Square in Glasgow on 31 January 1919 (Bloody Friday), a police baton-charge resulted in many injuries and the Riot Act was read.

Some of the Strike leaders were arrested and tried at the High Court in Edinburgh and this photograph shows (left to right) in the front row of the dock: Emmanuel Shinwell, chairman of the Strike Committee and of Glasgow Trades Council; William Gallacher, shop stewards leader; George Ebury, British Socialist Party; Joseph Brennan; David Kirkwood, a leading shop steward and Independent Labour Party; Harry Hopkins, District Secretary of the Engineers' Union; and James Murray. Shinwell was sentenced to five months' imprisonment, Gallacher and Murray to three; the others were found not guilty. The strikers did not win a Forty Hours' week, though hours were reduced for many workers after the War.

Title Forty Hours Strike, 1919
Maker --
Production Date 1919
Format Published Material Cutting
Copyright --
Holding Institution TUC Library Collections, London Metropolitan University
Related Objects --
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