Unions

In the year 1889 the Central Ironfounders’ Association came into being.  Until that time most of the foundry moulders were members of the Associated Society of Ironmoulders, which had its headquarters in Glasgow.  It was also a beneficial society and there were many complaints in Falkirk that the funds, which should have been available to aid those on strike, were going to certain members feigning sickness (colloquially known as ‘going on the beer’).

The founder members of the new Society were Archie Logan, Hugh Murdoch, William Strang, and my father, Robert Anderson.  Although working class they were all well educated… On several occasions, as a young boy, I was taken to the home of Sir William Collins, in the West End of Glasgow and his house at Strone on the Clyde.  At that time Sir William Collins was Secretary of State for Scotland, and father was a moulder.  The strategy of the new society was worked out by the founder members in the back-kitchen of our cottage in Dalderse Avenue in Grahamston.  Father, who wrote the cards, numbered his own ‘4’.  It was in my possession for many years.  He became the Society’s first auditor, and later was unpaid treasurer, retiring about 1912, when the executive decided to make a payment for services, to accept which he was most unwilling.

The new Society excluded sick benefit, but included death benefit, and an old age pension.  Long illnesses causing great hardship came under review and ex gratia payments were made to members, according to need… In a merger of all the iron workers in the country into one union, the Central Association joined and its headquarters are now in Manchester”.

(John Anderson 1980).

In 1894 the Central Ironmoulders’ Association had the following numbers of members at the individual works:

Abbots79
Camelon64
Falkirk75
Grangemouth20
Parkhouse20
Bonnybridge42
West End 11

Making a total of 880.

Burnbank41
Callendar55
Forth & Clyde92
Gowanbank16
Etna23
New Grange25
Forthbank6
Castlelaurie79
Carron45
Grahamston118
Port Downie51
Springfield15
Seaview3

Illus: 11 Grahams Road.

With the rapid growth of the industry the Central Ironmoulders’ Association found that its workload had increased considerably and its rented accommodation in Newmarket Street was too cramped. So, in December 1912, the union purchased 11 Grahams Road and converted it into offices. Growth of its membership continued with many workers joining from outside of central Scotland. To better reflect its membership, in 1926 it was renamed as the “Ironfounding Workers’ Association”. A new façade was put on the premises at Grahams Road in 1930, designed by J G Callander.

On 1 July 1946 the Ironfounding Workers Association amalgamated with the National Union of Foundry Workers of Great Britain and Ireland to become the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers.  In 1967 it in turn became part of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering and Foundry Workers.  With all of these mergers and declining iron industry in the Falkirk area it was decided to close the Falkirk office.

Under the heading of Components, the next section deals with Raw Materials. Click here to read.

G.B. Bailey, 2021