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11 July 2014
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Social Change: Employment 1945 to 1979

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An image of an old briefcase.

The UCS 'work in' marked a change in industrial relations. Trade unions and management began to work together to try to build a viable future for the Scottish shipyards. This BBC news broadcast reports a meeting during union/management negotiations. Hugh Stenhouse was Chairman of UCS in 1971. He promises to look and see if the Scotstoun yard might be included in the UCS reorganisation, but his cautious statement contrasts with the absolute determination of the shop stewards to keep the yards open, at all costs.

Interview with Hugh Stenhouse, Chairman of UCS, recorded by the BBC 1971.

"Mr Stenhouse : Oh I think there's been a good bit of progress today. You know we're talking sensibly, we're talking reasonably. We're talking the same language. We all want to keep as many people in employment as possible. I must say I was encouraged. To everybody I would say please don't run away and say we've solved the thing. We haven't, but there is hope that there will be jobs for a considerable number of people, still at Govan, at Linthouse and still, as far as I'm concerned, at Scotstoun.

Interviewer: So, in actual fact you see quite a good deal of hope for the Clyde in the very near future?

Mr Stenhouse : No I did not say that. I say actually I see the smoke or the mist lifting slightly and see things a little more clearly, a little hope where there was none."

So it would seem that after long weeks of uncertainty, while the 'work in' has gone on at the yards, there is more than a fair chance that the familiar super structure of shipbuilding on the Upper Clyde will survive. Today's round of talks and the talks planned for next week, the new attitude of the shop stewards and the coming together of all parties could, it's hoped be the final break through for Clydeside."

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