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


Report on the Clydeside engineering dispute and the activities of the Clyde Workers' Committee, Apr 1916

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As the influence of the CWC spread throughout Clydeside during 1915 and 1916 the government grew ever more anxious at developments and began to take a keen interest in the affairs of the CWC and their leaders. The initial fear within government was that the CWC was involved in a German led conspiracy to hinder the manufacture of munitions for British military forces.

However, the 'CWC/German plot' theory was soon dispelled by those in Government and once the dilution dispute began in March 1916 Government ministers came to view the real danger of the CWC as one where syndicalist and revolutionary CWC leaders were in danger of adversely influencing the majority of ordinarily loyal and patriotic trade union members. The realisation dawned within Government circles that only the outright defeat of the CWC would ensure industrial calm on Clydeside for the duration of the war.

The defeat of the CWC was achieved, along with the industrial calm the government sought, by simply removing the revolutionary inspired leadership of the CWC from a number of important Clydeside munitions works. Between March 24th and April 5th 1916 ten CWC shop stewards and thereafter saw little or no resistance to the implementation of dilution on Clydeside.