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The Wapping story thirty years on

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Public meeting Thursday 14 January 2016, 6.30 pm Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, Bancroft Road, London E1 4DQ (5 minutes’ walk from Stepney Green or Mile End underground stations) Speakers: John Hendy, leading employment law barrister; John Lang, former sacked News international striker; Pete Kavanagh and Louisa Bull, Unite London & Eastern Region officers.

2016 will mark the 30th anniversary of the most traumatic upheaval in the history of the British media. On January 24 1986 Rupert Murdoch’s News International group, publisher of four national papers, sacked nearly 6,000 staff as it switched production overnight to a new non-union factory in Wapping, East London. The workers fought a bitter year-long battle but failed to win back their jobs.

It was one of the crucial disputes of the Thatcher era that threatened to break the resolve of the trade union movement leaving workers unable to resist the commercial pressures of the giant corporations.  It marked the start of the age of Big Media companies controlling all our main media, debasing editorial standards and treating readers and audiences simply as consumers.

The News International Dispute Archive (NIDA) was set up in 2010 by former strikers and supporters to relate the workers’ side of the story.  The Archive group produced an exhibition for the 25th anniversary in 2011 that was shown country-wide and a website.

The exhibition has been updated for the 30th anniversary. It is showing at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives in Stepney, east London, not far from the fateful Wapping site and runs from 1st December until 11th February. Visitors are welcome Monday to Friday and the first and third Saturday in the month. Group visits are welcome.


DATELINE: 6 February, 2016

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