The 1925 Railway Works Sit In

Industrial dispute predating the General Strike

The photograph below shows workers in Wolverton Works participating in a sit-in in late October/early November 1925, a year before the national General Strike.The Wolverton Express of 6th November reports:“With the call of the Railway Carriage Works’ whistle at 7.55 on Tuesday morning came an end to a dsipute which had lasted just over one week.”

Dispute over speeding up work practices

The dispute was caused by the appointment of someone in a responsible position who the workers in the finishing shop objected to. He’d had a previous history of trying to introduce faster methods of working. The finishers ‘downed tools’ and later in the day workers in the whole of the department followed suit. This was then followed by the workers going into the works at the usual hour daily, remaining inside the usual periods, but not doing a stroke of work. The time was spent mostly in concerts which were held daily in one of the largest workshops. 4-5,000 workers were affected by the dispute.

Orderly conducted dispute

The Express noted that:“A most noticeable feature of the whole dispute has been the very orderly conduct of the workmen, a fact that has been commented on by all sides, and one to the credit of the town. In an interview with My Humphreys, (of the National Union of Railwaymen) our representative was informed that during the whole of his 20 years’ experience as an organizer he had never come across a set of workers more orderly in the conducting of their discipline.”

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