In the early 20th century the town was synonymous with the Scottish socialist movements led by the shipyard workers along the river Clyde, giving rise to the title of Red Clydeside.
The 11,000 workers at the largest factory of Singer sewing machines went on strike in March–April 1911, ceasing to work in solidarity of 12 female colleagues protesting against work process reorganization. Following the end of the strike, Singer fired 400 workers, including all strike leaders and purported members of the IWGB, among whom Arthur McManus, who later went on to become the first chairman of the Communist Party of Great Britain between 1920 and 1922.
Labour unrest, in particular by women and unskilled labour, greatly increased between 1910-1914 in Clydeside, with four times more days on strike than between 1900 and 1910. During these four years preceding World War I, membership of those affiliated to the Scottish Trades Union Congress rose from 129,000 in 1909 to 230,000 in 1914.
It is the generally held belief of residents that Clydebank has far more common interests with other urban towns and districts of the Glasgow Settlement or Greater Glasgow city-region than they do with detached northern rural areas of West Dunbartonshire, although this should not be assumed to have ended the town's identifying itself as part of the historical county of Dunbartonshire, which many residents feel is important in maintaining Clydebank's independent identity from the adjacent City of Glasgow. As stated previously the town borders but is not part of the local authority area called the City of Glasgow, although as the boundary falls between neighbouring houses its existence is largely irrelevant in terms of people's use of commercial and leisure facilities, housing, employment and transport.
The town is part of a single urban area (officially the Glasgow City Metropolitan Area) with the terms Glasgow and Greater Glasgow often used interchangeably, with context being important to establish meaning as for some Clydebank residents the claiming of the town as part of the City of Glasgow could be a sensitive issue. This Glasgow City Metropolitan Area includes places falling within the limits of the following local authorities: West Dunbartonshire (Clydebank), all of East Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, all of East Renfrewshire and all of the City of Glasgow. These areas form a single health service area, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Like these areas, most of Clydebank uses the Glasgow telephone area code "0141", however the northern & western portions of the Clydebank area use "01389". The G81 postcode is the most widely used in the area, but the Bowling and Old Kilpatrick areas of the town use G60.
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