Scottish Industrial Court

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JCIII
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Scottish Industrial Court

Post by JCIII » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:14 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for having me.I would really welcome some help on a matter which represented at the time fitba ‘Scottish legal history’.In 1950 my late dad, Johnny Curran (then AFC’s goalie) gave evidence from a player’s perspective on behalf of the Scottish Players Union ( “the SPU”) at a special sitting of the Scottish Industrial Court.Despite trying I have been unable to source the official judgement.The SPU tell me that their records don’t stretch that far back! The case was all about the rights of Scottish pros to be paid close season wages and I can state with certainty that 1) close season wages were paid as standard shortly thereafter and 2) my dad became temporary chairman of the SPU after his transfer to East Fife in 1951.I conclude from that that the SPU did prevail in the case but I would love to have confirmation. If any fitba historians out there have any info then please let me know. I’ll be forever in your debt! I will try to post a press report on the hearing separately as I am unable to include it in this post for some reason.
A couple of linked matters: a) Curran family lore has it that my Granda ‘Jock’Curran was instrumental in the SPU’s foundation but I have no evidence. After WWI service Granda Jock crossed the pond to play pro “ soccer” (!) in Philadelphia in the early 1920s before returning to Glasgow and b) unlike England there was no maximum wage in Scotland at that time. That was a major factor in my dad’s decision to sign for Aberdeen from Queen’s Park in 1948 and reject competing offers from Arsenal and Wolves. JC (jnr)

ScottishFA
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Re: Scottish Industrial Court

Post by ScottishFA » Tue Apr 20, 2021 1:48 pm

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

It is a great shame that the SPFA doesn't have proper records, but hopefully the fine people on this forum can help out.

First thing to mention is that you can only post pictures to the forum if they are online already - there is no facility to add an attachment. The quick answer is to upload it to a free image-hosting site (eg Imgur or photobox) and then link to that.

As for Union history, the first attempt was way back in 1898 and I wrote about it on my blog: https://www.scottishsporthistory.com/sp ... -unionists but it was not a long-lived organisation.

The Scottish Football Players Union was founded on 19 September 1945. John Curran is not mentioned among the original committee members, but he was editor of the Union's journal, called Scottish Football and Sports Survey which was launched in May 1947. It carried on until the end of 1948. I've got a couple of issues in my collection.

There were a couple of successor publications but I don't know if he was involved: Scottish Football Opinion ran in 1950 and was a joint publication of the Players' Union and the Scottish Federation of Supporters Associations. Then there was a flimsy Scottish Football Players Union Journal which seems to have run from about 1952.

There was certainly no maximum wage in Scotland, but I can't answer your question about close season wages.

bluedragon
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Re: Scottish Industrial Court

Post by bluedragon » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:03 pm

I have come across this when researching the career of Johnnie Hughes who became the Players’ Union secretary in 1950.

HEARING

The hearing was held on 25 January 1951 in Glasgow and was before an Arbitration Court of the Ministry of Labour. The Players’ Union was represented by the immediate past secretary Alec Miller who started the process, Johnnie Hughes (the current secretary), Tommy Louden (Alloa Athletic who was on the union’s committee), James Reilly (solicitor) and Johnny Curran who was to act as a witness.

OUTCOME

After considering the issue the court announced its decision in February 1951. It ruled in favour of the Players’ Union and when the union sought a clarification on the ruling the court’s decision was also in the players’ favour. This caused a major rift in relations between players and the football authorities and the Scottish Football League withdrew from a consultative committee set up for dealing with matters relating to players.

DISPUTE

The dispute arose because the clubs wanted players’ contracts to run from 1 May to 30 April. This would mean that at the end of the season any player given a free transfer or placed on the Open to Transfer List would not be paid until they signed for another club. Players in these circumstances faced the close season with no wages. The Players’ Union wanted a 1 August to 31 July arrangement that would mean players in that position would be paid during the close season. There had been a two-year trial of the 1 August to 31 July arrangement but the clubs wanted to revert to 1 May to 30 April claiming they could not afford to pay these players over the close season. This is when the dispute started.

RULING

The court ruled that full-time players should be on 1 August to 31 July contracts. At that time only 16% of Scottish footballers were considered full-time. The Players’ Union went back to the court to seek clarification on its definition of “full-time”. The court defined a full-time player as "one, who during his period of contract with a club, was available for full-time service but was not otherwise gainfully employed".

This was an important definition. Many players who were considered part-time and paid as such trained during the week with the club and were therefore “available for full-time service”. Therefore it was far more than 16% of players who benefited from the court’s decision.

I hope that this helps.
Last edited by bluedragon on Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JCIII
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Re: Scottish Industrial Court

Post by JCIII » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:38 pm

Many thanks to @ bluedragon for your response.I have been searching for this answer for over a year and had approached both the SPU and the present Office Of Industrial Tribunals ,both to no avail.I was also delighted to receive a separate reply which clarified my Granda Jock's involvement in the nascent SPU and these two answers complete a gap in the history of the Curran male line which I was researching for a book I was co-authoring with four other old ( very) school friends.One of my contributions related to the "fitba" Chapter of the book and includes the stories of three JC's: 1) My Granda Jock's (JCI)post WW1 adventure playing as a pro with The Philadelphia Soccer and Football Club in the 1920s,my dad's career as a goalie with Queen's Park,AFC,Shrewsbury,Watford and Keith FC in the Highland League (JCII) and my own much more modest achievements during a 13 year semi-pro career in the HL with Rothes and Keith(JCIII).The book was self financed and self published by the five co-authors with the initial print run being distributed to family and friends along with "forever" copies which have been deposited with the likes of the Aberdeen City Archive,the libraries of Aberdeen Grammar School and University and,of course,Keith FC!
I cannot thank both respondees enough.A wonderful site.Thanks for having me!
JCIII (aka John W Curran)

Rob R
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Re: Scottish Industrial Court

Post by Rob R » Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:44 pm

Was the solicitor mentioned James Reilly the same man who was a director of Third Lanark when they folded. He also started buying shares in Celtic in the late 1940 early 50s trying to wrestle control of the club from the Kelly family.

JCIII
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Re: Scottish Industrial Court

Post by JCIII » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:41 am

Sorry,RobR but I can’t answer your query. I will try to find out,However.JCIII

bluedragon
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Re: Scottish Industrial Court

Post by bluedragon » Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:07 am

In his work for the Scottish Professional Footballers Association he was described in the newspapers as "James Reilly, a Glasgow solicitor".

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