Upper Clyde Shipbuilders a new play: Yes! Yes! U.C.S.!

A new musical play in development in collaboration with Ben Harker from the University of Manchester; the project will celebrate the largely forgotten story of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS) and the historic 1971 dispute, where industrial action took the unusual form of a work-in. Funding permitting, this will be our biggest and most ambitious production to date.

 

 

 

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A new musical play in development in collaboration with Ben Harker from the University of Manchester; the project will celebrate the largely forgotten story of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders (UCS) and the historic 1971 dispute, where industrial action took the unusual form of a work-in. Funding permitting, this will be our biggest and most ambitious production to date.

With the Glasgow and Clydebank shipyards facing closure and the Tory government refusing to invest in ‘lame-duck’ industries, a dynamic group of young Communist shop stewards led a working occupation of the yards.

Within a few weeks the fight to save jobs had become a national and international campaign for the right to work. 80,000 people marched to Glasgow Green in support of the work-in. The worlds of music and poetry added their support to the shipyard workers’ campaign at a series of high-profile benefit concerts starring the Dubliners, The Laggan, Billy Connolly, Matt McGinn, Dominic Behan, Dick Gaughan, Jim McLean and Hamish Henderson.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono donated £1,000 to the cause.

After more than a year of intense struggle, the government caved in.

The four threatened shipyards were saved, and the right to work upheld.

 Leading shop steward Jimmy Reid said:

The UCS work-in provided a release from “...the pent-up frustration of years”; offering a means of “...finding positive expression.” It was, he said, “...a group of workers saying we’re not going to negotiate redundancies; we’re not going to negotiate closures – this is wrong. You’ve got no right to take decisions, economic decisions, abstracted from their social consequences. We’re human beings...we’ve got families. We belong to a community. You’ve got no right to throw us on the human scrap heap.”