Morale dips but Reid’s rhetoric holds nerve

Jimmy Reid speaking to meeting from platform

On 17 September a bonus for the workers when Ken Douglas, Managing Director of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, reveals record productivity and improved industrial relations in a widely reported newspaper interview.

The Government, meanwhile, appoints a management board to two-yard proposal to isolate Clydebank and divide the workers unity. The unions counter on September 24th, through a mass meeting of 8,000 workers in Govan endorsed the shop stewards’ no closures, no redundancies policy agreeing to non-co-operation with the proposal and the board who Reid lampoons as “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.

But by October 1971 union morale has dipped and uncertainty grows as the occupation is no longer front-page news. The campaign and government are in stalemate. Victory for the UCS workers against Heath’s government is in the balance. But Reid’s rhetoric helps them hold their nerve.

“Don’t let their be division in our ranks,” he tells a mass meeting, explaining unity is crucial.

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