Remembering the BSR Strike of 1969

East Kilbride Central Library, Olympia Shopping Centre, East Kilbride

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The 50th anniversary of the pivotal BSR strike in East Kilbride is being marked with a special event at East Kilbride Central Library at 11am on November 27th.

Researchers, together with East Kilbride Heritage Group, are hosting the event in the Central Library after an appeal was published in the East Kilbride News earlier in the year for former BSR workers to share their memories.

The event includes an exhibition of photographs of – and newspaper articles about – the dispute, and there will be a talk by one of the authors of a paper chronicling the dispute, written for the Scottish Labour History Society journal. This will be followed by a Q&A session.

In autumn 1969, some 1500 workers, predominantly women members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and the Foundry Workers Union, came out on strike for union recognition from Better Sound Recordings (BSR) Ltd. After fourteen weeks, and a series of mass demonstrations, BSR recognised the union.

Researcher John Boyle said: “Images from the factory gate showing conflict and disorder became the hallmarks of the strike. The anger and bitterness that accompanied the dispute should not be ignored, and hopefully lessons were learnt. Nevertheless, this was a dispute about women workers finding a collective voice in the face of an authoritarian management.”

“Earlier this year we appealed through the East Kilbride News for former BSR employees to come forward and recall their experiences and memories. As a result, several former employees contacted us. Their valuable insights into this dispute have now been captured and form part of a paper produced by academics for the Scottish Labour History Society journal, which is due for publication later this month.”

The authors are Alan McKinlay, Professor of HRM at Newcastle University Business School, Dr Bill Knox, Honorary Senior Lecturer in the School of History, University of St Andrews, and researcher John Boyle.

The full address of the library is East Kilbride Central Library, Olympia Shopping Centre, Churchill Avenue, East Kilbride, G74 1PG.