Arthur Henderson had called a conference to form a peace committee. However, war was declared on the 4 August 1914. The following day the Labour Party voted to support the war effort.
So instead of a peace committee, the Labour representatives who attended the conference on the 5 August formed the War Emergency Workers National Committee (WEWNC).
The WEWNC was a broad coalition of labour organisations with representatives from the Labour Party and across the wider Labour and Socialist Movement.
Henderson was its first Chairman and its members included Sidney Webb, Ben Tillet, Ramsay MacDonald and Susan Lawrence.
Its purpose was to protect the interests of the working classes during the war. The committee campaigned on issues such as wages, rent controls, widow’s pensions and food prices.
In 1916 it supported the ‘Conscription of Riches’ campaign, emphasising the need for ‘fair play’ between the classes and arguing for the war to be paid for out of taxation on capital.