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A free press? Wapping, 25 years on.

Submitted by on January 27, 2011 – 9:51 am2 Comments

On Tuesday night, 25 years to the day since media mogul Rupert Murdoch provoked action which resulted in a year-long strike that saw thousands of print workers sacked, hundreds of printers gathered to express their continuing defiance and struggle for press freedom.

A meeting, convened by the NUJ represented by Jeremy Dear, UNITE represented by national and local officials involved in the dispute, representatives of the engineers and Fleet Street electricians, and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom gathered at the Printers’ Institute in St Bride’s Lane, London.

The meeting warned of the dangers if Murdoch is allowed to take over BSkyB. The meeting events will be followed by an exhibition launched in Clerkenwell this coming 1 May.

Anne Field, one of the principal strike leaders during the News International dispute and a keynote speaker wrote the following on the historic day: “At the beginning of 1986 News International sacked everyone who stood by their rights, their jobs and their union.

“Murdoch had decided to get rid of an entire workforce by provoking a dispute over workers’ rights and dignity of trade union agreements and representation. A replacement workforce had already been recruited in secret and over 5,500 people lost their jobs overnight. This action gave the green light to other employers to tear up long standing pay and conditions agreements and frightened many workers off defending themselves.

“If anyone was in any doubt as to the Murdoch philosophy of life ‘everyone has their price’ they need look no further than the company’s offer yesterday to ‘compensate’ anyone on the receiving end of hacking – in other words buying their silence.

“The company’s influence and hold over government and media in all its forms is as malign as it is effective in choking the ability of people to voice their differing views and opinions about their jobs, terms and conditions of employment.”

Members of the NUJ will be joining other unions and student groups in Manchester on Saturday to march against the Murdoch-backed government cuts.

Details: http://www.afinelung.com/?p=2394

2 Comments »

  • Talkative says:

    Interesting to see Andy Gray is one of the people taking action against NOTW after having his phone tapped. Puts a slightly different perspective on the leaked footage of his sexist behaviour and comments. Murdoch must have dirt on so many people in the media (inc his own companies obviously) and government that he can use to silence or sideline any critics (i.e., Vince Cable).

  • Serge Forward says:

    Good to see this has not been forgotten. I was heavily involved in this dispute when I lived in the Smoke years ago. It was 100% politically motivated with Thatcher wanting to gain another notch after the miners strike… this she did, thanks to her mate Rupert.

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