Background[ edit ] Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories was a photographic finishing and processing business, trading under a escorhs of brand names including Bonusprint, Doubleprint and Tripleprint, founded in by George Ward, John Hickey and Tony Grundy. The growth of amateur colour photography meant that small High Souuthall chemists which had ly serviced this market "could no longer afford the equipment to develop family snapshots, and the photo-processing field was left wide open for larger, specialist companies" such as Grunwick.
Background[ edit ] Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories was a photographic finishing and processing business, trading under a variety of brand names including Bonusprint, Doubleprint and Tripleprint, founded in by George Ward, John Hickey and Tony Grundy.
The growth of amateur colour photography meant that small High Street chemists which had ly serviced this market "could no longer afford the equipment to sluthall family snapshots, and the photo-processing field was left wide open for larger, specialist companies" such as Grunwick. Although there were allegations that the working conditions at Grunwick resembled those of a sweatshopother contemporary writers described the premises as "clean and well lit but frugal.
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The pickets also headed to Grunwick's nearby Cobbold Road premises where a further 25 workers walked out and ed the strike. On 2 September all striking workers were dismissed from the company's employ.
In the intervening period, APEX had declared the strike "official" and sought a meeting with Grunwick management, as did, informally, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service Acas. As a result, on 7 October Len MurrayGeneral Secretary of the TUCrequested trade unions give "all possible assistance" to the strikers, including "boycotting Grunwick's services. Backed by Gorst and NAFF, Ward threatened to take sprong action against the UPW in the High Court, claiming the actions of its members was in direct contradiction to the provisions of section 58 of the Post Office Actwhich said that any officer of the Post Office who "wilfully fails to handle mail" would be guilty of a misdemeanour.
Until it is, as far as our union is concerned, we are going to support these workers who are being badly treated by a nineteenth-century employer.
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Justice Chapman in the High Court. At a second inter partes hearing before Mr.
Justice Slynn on 9 November, the firm consented to the dismissal of its application for an injunction. The company explained "We are bound by the opinion of the loyal workers southalp our company" and would not heed those of the strikers "outside". He said "I am satisfied that Mr.
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Ward could have supplied these lists at any time but declined to do so in the belief that he could thereby exercise some control over the proceedings. Ward stated that he would refer the case to the Court of Appeal. While Lord Justices Browne and Lane disagreed with Lord Denning's decision that strikers were not "workers", all three were in agreement that the failure of ACAS to canvass all of the employees, even though it was through no fault of their own, rendered the report invalid and as such it was declared void.
Grunwick attempted to take out an injunction restraining pickets from demonstrating outside shops and handing out what the company alleged were " defamatory leaflets". In the High Court Mr Justice Gibson refused to grant the injunction, saying that he would not interfere with peaceful picketing in a trade dispute.
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The company was unable to provide evidence of violence by the pickets, and as the strike committee escprts that they could justify their allegations in a court of law the judge declined to restrain the distribution of leaflets. Police responded with greater s and more aggressive tactics, and violence broke out on a of occasions. The local Brent Trades Council, led by its president, veteran construction union activist and Communist Party industrial organiser Tom Durkin, and its secretary, TGWU activist Jack Dromeyhad become increasingly active in support of the strikers, mobilising support from other trades councils, trade unions and other sokthall movement bodies across Greater London.
From the spring of this had led to delegations of trade unionists from other parts of London starting to attend at and support the picket lines and the Grunwick management and the police had responded by preventing pickets from having any contact with workers entering the factory. In the summer the strike committee, supported by the trades council, decided to call mass-pickets in an attempt to prevent buses carrying non-striking workers entering the Grunwick premises and a mass-picket and demonstration was called for 22 June This mobilisation call was vigorously taken up by several trade union and labour movement bodies across London and by virtually all leftist political organisations notably the Communist Party and its newspaper, the Morning Starthe Socialist Workers' Party and various political groups inside the Labour Party.
The 22 June event became a national demonstration of solidarity with the Grunwick strikers. On 22 June delegations from trades councils, several constituency Labour parties and a great many trade unions including miners and print workers attended the mass-picket.
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The attendance of the president of the Yorkshire area of the National Union of MineworkersArthur Scargilland a delegation of mineworkers from as far afield as Yorkshire, South Wales and Kent, was highlighted by the media. There were clashes between police and pickets and a large of arrests when police tried to escort buses carrying non-striking employees into the Grunwick plant and bloody scenes between sokthall police and the pickets were broadcast on television.
The Labour escortw decided to commission an inquiry under Lord Scarman and the pickets were called off in mid-July to wait for the result of the inquiry. APEX announced it would abide by the outcome of the inquiry but Ward did not, saying he would only submit to the normal courts.
Aftermath[ edit ] The Scarman Inquiry recommended the reinstatement of the strikers, said that the management had acted "within the letter but outside the spirit of the law" and that union recognition could "help the company as well as the employees". Ward rejected the report, the strikers were not reinstated and the union was not recognised.
A House of Lords ruling upheld Ward's right not to recognise a union. The strike's support from other unions "slipped away"  leaving the strikers to call off their action on 14 Julynearly two years after it had begun. Their demands for collective bargaining were never escrots.
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Postmen who refused to deliver Grunwick's mail were suspended, disrupting postal service in the area, and the Attorney General refused to initiate any action against escrots and stopped anyone else from doing so. In August Sir Keith Josepha prominent Conservative politician called the Grunwick dispute "a make-or-break point for British democracy, the freedoms of ordinary men and women" and described Labour ministers who ed the pickets as "'[m]oderates' behind whom Red Fascism spre".
Joseph was seen as speaking beyond southaol remit, as the more moderate James Prior was the shadow Employment Secretary.