The Grunwick dispute 40 years on
AUGUST this year marks the fortieth anniversary of the start of the two-year Grunwick dispute. Older readers may remembers how Asian women working in the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories in Willesden went on a long strike over a number of workplace issues including union recognition. The strikers received widespread support from the trade union movement, with postal workers refusing to deliver the company's mail (film reels to be processed), although the TUC eventually withdrew its support to the strikers.
There were frequent clashes between police and trade unionists on the Grunwick picket line and 550 arrests, with trade unionists on the receiving end of police violence. It was the first use of special police units such as the notorious Special Patrol Group (now disbanded) in an industrial dispute. For upcoming "Grunwick 40" events see the link below.