James Reid became internationally recognised in the early 1970s, when he led Upper Clyde shipbuilders in an attempt to stop Edward Heath’s Conservative government from closing shipyards on the River Clyde. With his colleagues Jimmy Airlie, Sammy Gilmore and Sammy Barr, he organised a ‘work-in’ to demonstrate the viability of Clydeside shipyards, instead of a strike.
He later served as Rector of the University of Glasgow.
“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.”