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Bessie Bond

 

Bessie was born in Glasgow in 1900, where her trade union activity began as soon as she went into paid work.

 

She and her sister, after talking secretly to fellow workers in the clothing factory in which they worked, managed to arrange for a union organiser to come and talk to the women workers during their tea-break about the possibility of forming a trade union. But someone talked and just a few minutes before the organiser was due to arrive, the two sisters were sent for by the boss and sacked on the spot.

 

Bessie joined the Communist Party just a few months after it was founded, when she herself was only 20. In an interview with the Daily Worker she commented that, of the Party, “I took to it like a duck to water!”

 

After that, they were unemployed for months during the slump — even though Bessie was a highly skilled tailoress. So, she finally went to London to look
for work. Bessie was active in the trade union movement from there on, having been on the district and executive committees of the Chemical Workers' Union and then she was active in the Clerical and Administrative Workers' Union (CAWU).

 

Finally, she worked for the Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians for 18 years from 1942. There, she handled negotiations for film laboratory workers, for the `documentary’ branch, film studios and elsewhere. It was from this position as an organiser with ACTT that, after 40-odd years of service to the trade union and Labour movement, she finally formally retired in 1960.

 

Source: details extracted from an interview with Bessie Bond by Rosemary Small in the Daily Worker on 2nd September 1960, copy provided by Michael Walker