Printworkers’ March for Jobs
Two groups of sacked workers travelled through the country to raise awareness and support. One group started out from Glasgow on 5th April following a route through Cumbria and Lancashire; the other left from Ashington, a mining town in Northumberland, and marched through Durham, Yorkshire and Derbyshire. They joined forces at Cannock in Staffordshire and marched on to London via towns and cities in the Midlands.
Along the route meetings and rallies were organised by local trade unions and print support groups. People were asked to help by joining the boycott campaign, (Don’t Buy The Sun, News of the World, The Times and The Sunday Times) organising local support groups, helping with picketing TNT depots and wholesalers, and supporting the strikers and their families directly by donating to the hardship fund.
They were asked to support three key demands:
- full re-instatement of all the sacked workers, and of any other of the company’s employees who had joined the dispute and had been sacked;
- all scabs to be swept out of Wapping in London and at Kinning Park in Glasgow, with restoration of trade union recognition and agreements;
- restoration of distribution of News International titles though the established system using national rail and local roads.
The march was a success, raising funds and helping to spread the message about the appalling treatment meted out to an entire workforce.
Welcoming events had been arranged at various locations in London culminating in a rally and demonstration at Wapping on May 3. There were at least 10,000 demonstrators and pickets present when the welcoming atmosphere quickly changed as the police launched a shocking series of violent attacks on the crowd.