In the early 1970s, 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 poetry and music added their support to the shipyard workers’ campaign at a series of high-profile benefit concerts starring the Dubliners, Billy Connolly, Matt McGinn, Dick Gaughan, Jim McLean, Jimmie Macgregor and Hamish Henderson. John Lennon and Yoko Ono donated £5,000 to the cause.
A Rose Loupt Oot brings together, for the first time, songs written during the UCS work-in, as well as poems reflecting on the campaign by writers like Edwin Morgan, Jackie Kay, Alistair Findlay and Aonghas MacNeacail. The book is illustrated with sketches by Ken Currie and cartoons by Bob Starrett, and includes an introduction by Ann Henderson, Assistant Secretary of the Scottish TUC.
David Betteridge is a retired teacher and teacher-trainer who has worked in Scotland, England, Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Pakistan and Nepal. He has written several books for the classroom and a collection of poems, Granny Albyn’s Complaint (Smokestack, 2008). He now lives in Glasgow.