Thursday, 19 August 2010
Today, Scotland and the labour movements in that country, the UK and the world buried and mourned Jimmy Reid, a stalwart of the 1970s labour movement, who died last week at 78 after a short illness. The funeral today was attended by Scottish politicians and leading figures of culture, society and the labour movement as well as Reid's surviving comrades and colleagues from Clyde. In its Friday edition, the Guardian ran the following article on the funeral while the Scotsman ran this piece on Thursday entitled "'We'll no see his like again' - fond farewell to hero Jimmy Reid" penned by an anonymous contributor.
Reid passed away on August 10 after a week-long struggle with brain haemorrhage, although he had been suffering poor health for years. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s when he led the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-in to try and stop Edward Heath's Conservative government from closing down the shipyards on the River Clyde.
Jimmy Reid - The One Show
The move came after the Conservative government of Edward Heath lifted state subsidy from the shipyard threatening its workforce of a severe cut in employment amounting to up to 6000 workers. Reid announced that the workers "have taken over the yards because we refuse to accept that faceless men can make these decisions."
The control and discipline of the "striking" workers was eloquently put by Reid in his famous speech: "we are not going to strike. We are not even having a sit-in strike. Nobody and nothing will come in and nothing will go out without our permission. And there will be no hooliganism, there will be no vandalism, there will be no bevvying because the world is watching us, and it is our responsibility to conduct ourselves with responsibility, and with dignity, and with maturity."
Glasgow Guide: Jimmy Reid (1932-2010
Reid had been active in the labour movement since the age of 19 and was a member of the Young Communist League. His natural leadership, as his mourners pointed out, appeared in his leadership of the national strike of engineering apprentices.
Here are a couple of videos summing up the life and struggles of Jimmy Reid whose body now rests in peace in the graveyard of the Church of Scotland parish church in Govan, Glasgow.
Govan Old parish church and its Egyptian obelisque
Here's an even nicer dedication to the men and women who worked on the River Clyde Shipyard in Glasgow, the "men and women of Clyde, who worked there with pride, building ships that sailed worldwide."