Scotland| Glasgow| Dundee| Edinburgh| Great Britain|
5.0| 5.5| 23.4| 5.1| 9.6|
Source: Census of Great Britain and Scotland, 1911.
‘Given that the average female wage in Britain was less than half the average male wage, thousands of women were condemned to abject poverty as they were denied the right to earn a living wage’. As a consequence women’s employment was an attractive proposition to employers. Women are an important part of this story. At the heart of the community they have a political voice, a social voice and an industrial voice. Women were becoming more unionised. One of the most successful, the National Federation of Women Workers, claimed that by 1908 it had two million trade unionists behind it and funds of £250,000. Kenefick and McIver challenge the conventional view that focussed on the First World War as the cause of the heightened class consciousness and militancy that was a feature of Red Clydeside and suggest the formative period for those who were to participate in future unrest and challenges against capital, the landlords and the state lay in the period 1910- 1914. They also put forward the case that ‘to Hinton, Burgess, Van Gore and White these years witnessed a surge in class consciousness and a fracturing of relatively peaceful industrial relations: capitalism was not threatened and significantly syndicalist ideas played little part in this protest. This surge in class-consciousness was reflected by the increasing militancy of women. Gordon points out that, ‘the statistics do reveal that women's strikes in the immediate pre-war years were on average longer and involved greater numbers’. The workforce employed by the Singer Company of Clydebank was predominantly female. The company did not believe in unions however, and membership was discouraged. One theme that pervades this whole period is the introduction of Scientific management. Company owners viewed Taylorism as a method of increasing their profits and reducing costs at the expense of the workforce. Twelve women cabinet polishers withdrew their labour following the re-organisation of their labour process, which involved an...