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

A musical play in development; 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. 

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 and was arguably the last major victory for the organised working class in Britain.

TOURING  September 2020 - November 20 and February 21 - April 21

 

Screen Shot 2019 08 26 at 09.55.24

A musical play in development; 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. 

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.”

To extend the influence of the project beyond the details surrounding UCS and the work-in itself, a research & development project phase will aim to examine the concept of ‘lost communities’, especially in areas where civic identity, once defined by a specific heavy industry, has since been lost or decimated over two or three generations.

The project aims to connect with communities in Clydebank, Hull, Appledore, Wallsend and Portsmouth, sharing the story of UCS, the demonstration of the impact of mass community action, whilst capturing first-hand accounts across the nation and generations, to develop a new play that reflects a positive, nuanced and relevant story of working class pride and resilience.