Coalition Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has recently announced that crucial Government documents relating to the Shrewsbury picketsâ€™ trials in 1973 are to be kept locked away for a further 10 years â€“ 50 years after the dispute took place.
Campaign For Trade Union Freedom supporters should sign the e-petition to ensure that the documents are released whilst the pickets are alive and email, Tweet and post this petition on blogs and Facebook sites.
The youngest is 65 and the oldest 85.
The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, based in the North West, has lodged an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission to have this miscarriage of justice against trade unionists overturned.
The Campaign believes that there was government interference in the prosecution of the pickets. The government is citing section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act, dealing with Â National Security, as the reason for their action.
In 1972 building workers faced the worst health and safety conditions in British industry. They faced hostile and powerful employers, lump labour and low pay. This was the background to the first national strike to improve pay and conditions.
At the end of the twelve-week dispute, in September 1972, they succeeded in winning the highest ever pay rise in the history of the industry.
Five months after the strike ended 24 pickets were picked up in North Wales and charged with over 200 offences. Six of the pickets were charged with conspiracy to intimidate. None of the pickets had been cautioned or arrested during the strike. Approximately 70 police accompanied the pickets on the Shrewsbury building sites at all times.
The first trial, in October 1973 ended with three of the pickets being found guilty of conspiracy to intimidate, unlawful assembly and affray, and were sent to prison: Des Warren for three years;Â Ricky Tomlinson for two years and John McKinsie Jones for nine months on each charge. In the other two later trials a further three pickets were imprisoned and the remaining pickets given suspended sentences.
Please support the Shrewsbury 24, sign the petition and ask comrades, family, friends and work colleagues to sign the e-petition too.
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