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


March against the starvation government, Sep 1928

by Wal Hannington

image from Red Clydeside collection

The NUWM was founded on 15 April 1921 with the appointment of Walter Hannington as national organiser and was the largest and most confrontational of the groups which emerged to defend the rights of the unemployed during the inter-war period.

The NUWM was largely under the control of the communist Party and its leaders made no secret of their communist affiliations. Attempts to gain affiliation to the Trades Union Congress in the 1930s were refused due to these Communist associations. At the height of their influence during the late 1920s and early 1930s the NUWM and its leadership were subject to police surveillance and continual harassment.

The NUWM sought to raise the profile of the unemployment issue through hunger marches, and campaigned against legislation decreasing the level of assistance paid to the unemployed. The impending threat of war and rearmament during the late 1930s eventually led to its demise.

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