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motion passed at the 2007 trades Union congress: Shrewsbury pickets
Congress notes the renewed campaign to seek justice for 24 building workers convicted in 1973 under the 1875 Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act.
Congress recognises the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the Shrewsbury pickets was politically motivated and biased, and that the 24 building workers were victims of a miscarriage of justice.
It is further recognised that Dennis Warren, Eric Tomlinson, John McKinsie Jones, Arthur Murray, Mike Pierce and Brian Williams, who all received custodial sentences, were political prisoners; as were 18 others who were charged and received varying degrees of suspended sentences.
Congress further acknowledges that at the 1976 Congress there was a call for a parliamentary inquiry into the jailing of the Shrewsbury pickets.
Congress, therefore, calls on the General Council to renew the call for a parliamentary inquiry. The inquiry should:
i) encompass all dates following and including 6 September 1972 up until the release of Dennis Warren and Eric Tomlinson;
ii) include an immediate Freedom of Information request for the release of all government and police papers relating to the 'Shrewsbury' trials;
iii) examine any link between Central Government and the North Wales and West Mercia Police Divisions investigations;
iv) examine any link between UK building employers and the Conservative Government and specifically the Home Secretary Robert Carr; and
v) investigate the systematic intimidation and abuse suffered in prison by Eric Tomlinson and the late Dennis Warren.
successfully proposed by Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians
After the 1972 Building Workers’ National Strike 24 Trade Unionists were tried at Shrewsbury in a hostile act perpetrated by a Tory Government to criminalise picketing. A number of these men were given severe prison sentences. Best known of them were Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson, who became referred to as the “Shrewsbury 2.” Des died as a direct result of the treatment that was meted out to him during his lengthy incarceration.
Successive Governments both Tory and Labour, have remained unresponsive to the calls for these perverse judgements to be set aside, and for these men to be cleared. There is now a renewal of the campaign, even after all this time, and the death of some of those involved, to secure justice for these Trade Union Comrades.
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.