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Remembering the 1916 Sheffield Shop Stewards Strike

Mon 9 May 2016, 7.30pm Red Deer pub, 18 Pitt St. S1 4DD

An event about a historical working class revolt during the world war of 1914-1918.On the site of what is now Meadowhall there was an engineering firm with an arms production line. In 1916 when one of the workers was forcibly enlisted for service in the trenches (contrary to established arrangements), the workforce laid down an ultimatum to management for the return of their comrade, failing which they would down tools and come out on strike. Management was under orders from Asquith, and his government was obliged to consider the situation, but concluded that the Union had neither the necessary organisation nor the determination to carry out the threatened action. So it was that the cabinet meeting in Downing Street decided to call their bluff. The result was not slow in coming, and within days dispatch riders on motorbikes were massed outside the Union HQ on Stanley Street (behind the Wicker) ready to spread the word and bring out all other like-minded workshops between London and Glasgow.Asquith and the cabinet were caught out by their own arrogance and contempt, and were forced to do a quick U-turn to return the missing comrade. The promise was insufficient however, and it was only when the workers were able to see him in the flesh at a meeting called at short notice in Bramall Lane that they agreed to go back to work.

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