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


The Munitions of War Act 1915, 14 Aug 1915

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Worker's on Clydeside were incensed at the consequences of the Munitions of War Act 1915 and the majority of skilled worker's on Clydeside came to see the Act as little more than a legal instrument whose main objective was to eliminate their hard won industrial rights. The Act was coined the 'Slavery Act' by Clydeside workers.

Under the Act it became a penal offence for a worker in controlled establishments i.e. workplaces involved in the manufacture of armaments, to withdraw his labour or to leave his current job to work for another firm without the consent of his employer.

Employer's were also given the power to issue or refuse certificates of discharge, thus making it impossible to gain work elsewhere without the permission of your previous employer. Other clauses in the Act made it an offence for a worker to refuse to undertake a new job regardless of the rates of pay on offer and the Act also made it an offence for a worker to refuse to work overtime, whether overtime pay was to be paid or not.