Labor History in 2:00

September 15 - The Invergordon Mutiny

September 15, 2020

On this day in Labor History the year was 1931. 

That was the day that came to be known as the Invergordon Mutiny in Scotland. 

The global Great Depression had begun its sweep across Europe. 

In response to the economic crisis, the British government began cutting the pay of public sector workers. 

This included those in the armed forces. 

This came at a time when more workers were joining the armed forces because of the rising unemployment that ravaged the private sector. 

For those in the Navy the proposed pay cuts were ten percent for officers and as high as twenty-five percent for those under the rank of petty officer. 

As news of the pay cuts spread, sailors at Invergordon held meetings to discuss their response. 

Invergordon, Scotland had become an important harbor for the British fleet during World War One. 

The sailors decided to strike. 

On the day of the strike, several ships were scheduled to participate in exercises.

But the sailors on four vessels refused to take their ships out of the harbor. 

Many men did not report for duty.

Naval leaders gave in quickly, reducing the severity of the pay cut. 

But many of the leaders of the strike faced reprisals. 

Some were jailed and others were drummed out of the Navy.  

Spies for the Admiralty went below decks to monitor the sailors and report those who might cause future trouble.

Government leaders tried to keep news of the strike out of the news. 

But workers’ rallies against public sector cuts spread to cities like Glasgow and London. 

The strike also caused a panic at the London Stock Exchange

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