Poetry Corner: Action by Frances Moore

Action by Frances Moore

A Sheffield teacher and activist in the National Union of Teachers, Frances Moore (1906 – 1994) was married to Bill Moore, who was a fulltime worker for the Communist Party. Although Frances’ busy life left with little time to write in her younger days, later on she produced a substantial body of poetry, some of which was published. The poem featured here is a tribute to the strength of collective action and duty of trade union struggle – and the example of the famous UCS Work In.


Finished! said the masters.
Broke! said the bosses.
Sack all the workmen and cut our losses.
No! said our lads and they stayed in the yard.
We learned from our fathers Union manners
are more than a matter of dues and banners:
It’s stand all together when the boss plays hard.
Shorter hours and better pay
are won by workers the bitter way:
tighten our belts and strike if we must
or the boss will bargain us into the dust.
But we’re not on strike said the UCS!
It’s human nature and human right
not to give in without a fight.
and UCS at Clydebank stands
for the Hand’s right to use his hands:
for the right to work as a human right.

Frances Moore

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