The Campaign fights for justice for the wrongful prosecution of 24 building workers following their strike in 1972.
“We were not guilty of any crime... Any fair-minded person looking at the evidence would conclude there has been a miscarriage of justice.” Terry Renshaw
The Shrewsbury 24 were not guilty of conspiracy. They were the victims of one
Shrewsbury 24 activists hail MPs' Vote for full facts of 1972 Plot.
Shewsbury 24 justice campaigners hailed a big leap forward in their quest to expose a vicious Establishment conspiracy against innocent trade unionists. MPs voted by 120 to three to demand the lifting of the government ban on publication of papers held on spurious grounds of "national security" following a historic Commons debate 40 years after three Shrewsbury pickets were jailed and 21 others tried on trumped-up conspiracy charges. read full article here....
HuntleyFilmArchives footage from the 1972 strike and rallies in suppport of the Shrewsbury pickets https://youtu.be/wI_QmOnYbFs
More than the requisite 100,000 signatures were secured for a parliamentary debate on the petition’s central demand for the disclosure of all state documents relating to the arrest, trials and convictions of 24 north Wales building workers in 1973.
House of Commons debate on the Shrewsbury 24, 23 January 2014 - Motion, tabled by Dave Anderson MP:
“That this House is seriously concerned at the decision of the Government to refuse to release papers related to the building dispute in 1972 and subsequent prosecutions of the workers known as the Shrewsbury 24 and calls on it to reverse this position as a matter of urgency.”
From Ricky Tomlinson:
You know me as an actor and performer today but as a young man I was a plasterer working in the building industry and a member of the T&GWU. We were low paid and had some of the worst working conditions of any workers in Britain in the 1970’s. Like any good trade unionists we decided we would take action to change this. We had a national strike in summer 1972. We picketed sites that were not well organised and where union members needed our support. Five months after the strike ended 24 of us were arrested out of the blue and six of us were sent to prison after lengthy trails at Shrewsbury Crown Court.
I was sent to jail for 2 years for carrying out trade union activities. Today you do not hear of trade unionists in Britain being sent to prison but that’s what happened to me and 5 of my colleagues. Others got suspended prison sentences.
We believe that they show that there was government interference and manipulation in bringing the prosecutions. The Coalition Government today continues to refuse to release these documents on grounds of “national security”. There’s a lot more information on the Campaign’s website:www.shrewsbury24campaign.org.uk
Heroes of trade unions in the construction industry - one of the worst miscarriages of justice in the 20th Century
Who were the Shrewsbury 24? Read Manchester TUC's excellent article
for further info, we recommend;
The Shrewsbury Three: strikes, pickets and "conspiracy" by Jim Arnison. This is the story of 3 building workers who were wrongly imprisoned and their fight for justice. The author was a journalist for the Morning Star.84pp. £3 + p&p from Working Class Movement Library.
Des Warren, "The Key to My Cell", (1982), republished 2007 £10 from www.shrewsburypicketscampaign.org.uk along with T-shirts, other books and all the latest campaign information.
Ricky Tomlinson, "Ricky", Time Warner Paperbacks (2003)
United we Stand is a new Townsend Productions play about the injustice served on 24 building workers in 1973.
Description of the play:
In the 1960s and 70s the UK’s building companies were making millions re-building the country, but building workers faced the most dangerous working conditions and poorest wages of any trade. In the summer of '72, for twelve weeks, 300,000 building workers launched their industry's first national all-out strike to end cash "lump" wages and seek better pay by using the controversial tactic of 'Flying Pickets'. The partial success of the strike, and the methods used, enraged the construction industry and government, and culminated in the arrest of 24 builders in North Wales who were charged with offences including conspiracy to intimidate and affray. The “24” were prosecuted at Shrewsbury Crown Court in 1973 and three were jailed, including building workers Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson.
Sharp and humorous, United We Stand tells the story behind the compelling dispute and dispels the myth, put about at the time, that the pickets were a criminally violent rather than ordinary working men seeking a better life for themselves and their fellow workers.
Combining Townsend Productions' trademark cast of two playing multiple roles, grand theatrical style and wit with popular and political songs about the strike, arranged by renowned folk musician John Kirkpatrick and Ricky Tomlinson's poems from his time in prison, the production aims to bring the full story of the compelling dispute to life in a powerful and thought-provoking new play.
The events surrounding the strike are still making headlines to this day, and 42 years on, the high-profile Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, led by picket turned actor Ricky Tomlinson is still seeking to overturn the unjust prosecution of the 24 building workers.
Ricky Tomlinson said about the play, “I am delighted The Townsend Theatre Company are presenting a play about the 1972 building workers strike, and the plight of the Shrewsbury 24 building worker pickets. It is 41 years since I together with Des Warren and John McKinsie Jones were charged with conspiracy and jailed.
We were charged with conspiracy, but we believe the real conspiracy was between the government, the building contractors and the judiciary. They wanted the prison sentences to act as a deterrent, to prevent workers from taking strike action.
“Every worker should know what happened to us so as to ensure it does not happen again.”
Townsend Productions - a company making a name for delivering vivid, politically committed theatre - The Observer
Whatever your politics, this is a production worth seeing - The Observer
Vivid Writing - The Observer
PRESS COVERAGE AND REVIEWS
- BBC: Ricky Tomlinson battles to overturn 1970s prison term
- BBC: United We Stand explores the case of the Shrewsbury 24
- BBC Radio 4: Front Row; Ricky Tomlinson and playwright Neil Gore talk about United We Stand
★★★★★ Morning Star
★★★★ Liverpool Echo
United We Stand is up front and personal, in yer face - British Theatre Guide
United We Stand is the kind of cake that really doesn’t need any icing - British Theatre Guide
Striking Stuff- Click, Liverpool
The play was truthful, and hilarious and entertaining from the start - Nerve Magasine
Passionately delivered – Liverpool Echo
Highly recommended – Morning Star
Here is new Video trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-YndfvRfsI
Shrewsbury activists call for release of secret papers - 22 January 2013
To visit the official Shrewsbury24 campaign website click here.....
Early Day Motion 170 Date tabled: 12.06.2012
That this House notes the application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission by Ricky Tomlinson and other convicted building workers known as the Shrewsbury 24 who were prosecuted in 1973 following the national building workers strike in 1972; further notes the support for the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign from building workers' unions the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians and Unite and many other trades unions; further notes that on the 40th anniversary of the dispute the Government continues, on grounds of national security, to withhold a number of papers relating to the strike and the prosecutions from being deposited at the National Archives under section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and calls on the Government to release forthwith all such papers for public scrutiny.
To: MPs because if 100,000 signatures are gathered Parliment has to address the issue.
The petition is really important and could use our help. Click here to find out more and sign:
The handing in of the submission to the CCRC was memorable. It was the first time in 40 years that the convictions have been challenged through the criminal justice system. History in the making, it was a day to remember.
The campaign will continue to support the pickets by ongoing research and to organise events to raise awareness of the issue and to raise funds to cover costs of the legal team at Bindmans solicitors. - Eileen Turnbull, Shrewsbury 24 campaign
Fund-raising to pay legal costs is necessary.
It is possible that new evidence will persuade the CCRC to obtain disclosure of documents from government concerning the activity of the security services and the Cabinet.
Watch the Campaign's video by clicking here
2nd annual march & rally- Bob Crow (RMT Gen.Sec.) called for support for John McDonnell's EDM to repeal the anti-trade union laws.
Message from Shropshire & Telford Trades Council
Support the Annual Shrewsbury 24 March and Rally
In 21st century Britain an unelected judge deems as illegal a democratic decision of workers to take strike action. Lord Justice McCombe’s recent high court ruling against BA cabin crew shows that yet again the law can be relied on to back the rich and the powerful. The outrageous decision to outlaw strikes at British Airways is directed against everyone who wants to see resistance to the ConDem Coalition’s agenda of savage cuts.
The bosses and the government are on the offensive against workers and the entire union movement has to fight back. Shropshire and Telford Trades Council invite trade unionists and supporters to joins us for a March and Rally demanding justice for the Shrewsbury pickets, criminalised and jailed following the 1972 building workers strike, and forging solidarity with workers fighting back now in the face of draconian anti-union laws.
The first two events have been a tremendous success, the rallies - outside the court where the pickets were sentenced - reinvigorated the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign and brought the lessons of struggle and resistance to a wide layer of activist and campaigners both old and new.
The March and Rally is held in Shrewsbury because this was where the main trial took place. The actual events that led to them being charged took place in Telford so there is even more reason that the event on the first Saturday of July is supported by all local Trade Unionists. It's time that Justice was finally done and pardon given to those who have been criminalised for being Trade Unionists, their only crime was in fighting for decent terms and conditions. The campaign is also calling for a Public Inquiry to expose the role of successive governments and the secret services in the events surrounding this important time in labour history.
Follow link for photo collage of the first march
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