Vanguard December 1915

Resolution from Weir’s Shop Stewards

Source: Vanguard, December 1915, p. 3;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

That we immediately get into touch with all Conveners of Shop Stewards or Representatives of the Kindred Trades with a view to levying ourselves 1d, 2d, or such a sum as would be sufficient to employ our victimised fellow worker, John Maclean, as an independent organiser, at a salary equivalent to what he was in receipt of from the Govan School Board. Furthermore, that we henceforth labour unceasingly until Comrade Maclean, is reinstated in his former position.

Glasgow Branch,
212 Broomielaw,
19th November, 1915.

Govan School Board,
Bath Street,

Dear Sirs, I am desired on behalf of the above Society to write you with reference to the recent dismissal of Mr. John M'Lean from his position as teacher in one of the schools under your jurisdiction.

I may mention that this Society has over 3,000 members in the district, about a 1,060 of whom are estimated to reside in the Plantation and adjacent districts, so that you can understand the matter is one in which we are deeply interested.

We hold the view that Mr M'Lean’s dismissal without any definite charge being formulated is manifestly unfair, and in our judgment he should be immediately reinstated in the service of the Board.

I have therefore to forward to you the following resolution: –

“That the British Seafarers Union, composed of members who reside in the district covered by the Govan School Board, expresses its strong disapproval of the Board’s action in dismissing Mr. John M'Lean, and respectfully suggests that the whole question be re-opened with a view to Mr M'Lean’s reinstatement.

Yours faithfully,
(Signed) B. SHINWELL, Secretary.

* * *

On the 24th November, the day when Maclean was released, at 7.45 am, a number of people had gathered near the prison gate. It appeared, however that with the object of avoiding any demonstration the authorities had let him out a little before the usual time.

A demonstration, however, took place. A deputation of forty miners in pit clothes, and with lamps burning, arrived from South Lanark in Central Station at nine o clock. This picturesque deputation caused a sensation in the station, and in the streets through which they marched. People it the sight of them asked: “Where is the strike?” Crowds of women, thinking it was in connection with the rents, cheered them as they passed along. “Is it a rent strike?” they were asked.

“No,” they replied, “we are here to protest against the imprisonment and dismissal of John Maclean.” “Good luck to you, brave fellows,” echoed in reply.

They came out to Pollokshaws, to Maclean’s house, in order to be sure that their friend was alive and hearty in spite of his imprisonment.

Then they marched through Pollokshaws to a hall, where a meeting took place.

At one o clock the deputation came to the gates of Fairfield Shipbuilding Yard, and a monster meeting of the workers was held. It was a picturesque scene. The deputation with lamps burning stood here and there, scattered amongst the huge mass of workers. Strong resolutions of protest against the Government and the Govan School Board were adopted. Also a resolution against the Munitions Act and conscription was passed. The crowd enthusiastically sang the “Red Flag” and the “International.” Then the deputation went home carrying the greetings of the shipyard workers to the miners of S. Lanark.

* * *

The Free Speech Committee, jointly with the Herald League, had arranged to hold an Anti-Conscription Demonstration in the City Hall on Monday, 29th November. A contract was concluded with the Town Council, deposit paid, tickets and posters issued. At the last moment the contract was broken and the demonstration prohibited.

The Free Speech Committee in reply to this issued an urgent appeal to the workers entitled, “The Town Council Scandal,” in which they declared that the doors must be opened on Monday and the demonstration proceed.

A very impressive demonstration was held in the open air, almost at the doors of the City Hall. Over 3,000 munition workers and others stood for two hours in a drenching rain listening to vigorous speeches.

The enthusiasm and determination exhibited at the meeting are indescribable. Glasgow, seldom sees such gatherings.

The speakers who were booked for the City Hal1, besides appearing at the open air meeting delivered speeches against conscription at the Panopticon, Metropole and Pavilion on the previous Sunday.

Now the magistrates prohibit meetings being held in the Panopticon. Will Scottish people submit to such tyranny? The last word lies with you, citizens of the city!