AN extension of the current Clydeside apprentices' strike to England, with the aim of discrediting the leadership of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, is planned by the Communists and fellow-travellers who are behind this strike, writes our Clydeside industrial correspondent.
These gentlemen are
presumably to be identiA.E.U., who "has fired a fled with the "werewolves broadside into the baswho are rushing madly tions of the mischief towards industrial ruin" makers in the trade union denounced so scathingly movement", writes Sir on Monday by Mr. W. J. Tom O'Brien in an excluCarron, K.S.G., president sive comment for the of the 1,000,000-strong CATHOLIC HERALD.
'C.H.' Industrial Correspondent, CLYDESIDE, Wednesday.
ALTHOUGH the proportion of Communists among Scotland's apprentices is negligible and many of the strikers are practising Catholics, there seems little doubt that the present strike in the engineering and shipbuilding industries on Clydeside is the outcome of Communistinspired agitation. The campaign began in earnest round about February, just after the 42-hour week had been conceded and it had income obvious to the Communist-Party that a new issue had to be found in order to keep up a campaign of subversion.
The aim is not only to increase Communist influence among apprentices but above all to discredit the present leadership of the Amalgamated Engineering Union.
With Scotland's apprentices already out en masse, round one has gone to the Communists and fellowtravellers.
The present aim is to extend the strike to England, in the hope
that if the English apprentices come out the A.E.U. will be forced to make the strike official. This would mean giving an official imprimatur to an unofficial apprentices' committee subject to marked Communist influence: it would mean forcing the A.E.U. leadership to pass a vote of no confidence in itself as well as in the established machinery for negotiation.
The union has not altogether failed to try to advance the status of apprentices. The present demands were first conceived about 1952 and were first tabled by the union in 1956, when they were rejected by the employers. They were again raised by the union in 1958, but this time the apprentices' demands were supersedes! by an adult male wage claim.
The decks were not clear for negotiation until February of this year, but even before this the union had taken steps to have the demands considered once more. Thus at the first 1960 meeting of the Glasgow Junior Workers' Committee on January 16 a resolution was put forward requesting the Glasgow District Committee of the A.E.U. to approach the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions to convene a meeting of apprentices with a view to campaigning for the apprentices' demands. The resolution was endorsed by the Glasgow District Committee of the A.E.U. on January 27, and as a result the
Confederation convened an apprentices' meeting on March 10.
At the same time as these official steps there began a backstairs intrigue which has culminated in the strike.
Donald McLaren, the organising secretary of the unofficial Clydeside Apprentices' Committee. is a member of the official Glasgow Junior Workers' Committee. After the latter had taken the initiative with a view to getting a review of the apprentices' claims under way, McLaren absented himself from subsequent meetings of the Glasgow Junior Workers' Committee and apologised for absence on the ground of his activities on behalf of the unofficial Clydeside Apprentices' Committee. McLaren is understood to be or to have been a member of the Young Communist League.
The unofficial Clydeside Apprentices' Committee, which is composed of apprentices from factories and shipyards. has an executive of 13. It is understood Continued on back page, col. 2