Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Maryhill branch of National Unemployed Workers Movement flute band, 1920s

Marching across Bonhill Bridge

image from Red Clydeside collection

The National Unemployed Workers Movement (NUWM) was originally formed out of the demobilised sailors' and soldiers' associations of 1918. However, as unemployment levels grew throughout the 1920s and 1930s the organisation came under the influence and control of the Communist Party.

The less than supportive response of the Labour Party and the trade unions to the plight of the unemployed during the depression years has been cited to explain the attraction of the Communist Party for many who found themselves out of work during the inter-war years.

The NUWM as an organisation agitated not only for the unemployed but was also active in rent strikes and campaigns against evictions, as well as being involved in campaigns opposing the means test and government labour camps.

Source: Gallacher Memorial Library, Glasgow Caledonian University Special Collections and Archives