An outing to the Theatre

On Sunday November 2nd our minister Trevor Dixon led our communion service and it was a worshipful service. I love the way he leads our communion service and we like to share the peace with each other. On Tuesday evening I went with friends to see the play, ‘United We stand’, which was set in the 1960s and 1970s in the UK’s building industry. The building workers faced the most dangerous working conditions and the poorest wages of any trade.
In the summer of 1972 for 12 weeks, 300,000 building workers launched their industry’s first national all out strike to end cash ‘lump’ wages and seek better pay by using the controversial tactic of ‘flying pickets.’ The partial success of the strike and the methods used, enraged the construction industry and government, and culminated in the arrest of 24 builders in North Wales, who were charged with offences including conspiracy to intimidate and affray. The ’24’ were prosecuted at Shrewsbury Crown Court in 1973 and 3 were jailed, including building workers Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson. The prosecution of the other pickets was a major landmark in the class struggle; it was a blatant conspicuous attack by the Tory government and the establishment to destroy basic trade union rights and a desperate attempt to halt union activity and membership.
This show has been put on to raise awareness of the courage of those who sacrificed their freedom, reputations and opportunities in seeking better conditions for their fellow workers, and to focus sharply on the political nature of the case brought against them – the ‘real conspiracy’ initiated and devised by government, big business and the Law. It was a splendid production with minimal props in which the whole struggle for the implementation of proper safety rules came to the fore. I found the show mesmerising as it was in the studio theatre at Harrogate Theatre, which is an intimate setting with the audience almost part of the production. Songs were used as part of the set to great effect.
It saddens me now that zero hours contracts are eroding many of the hard fought for rights of workers. The wages of the lowest paid remain low and those at the top’s salaries multiply. In the world today those at the lowest level have often nowadays to make choices about whether to eat, keep warm or pay rent. I speak as a very fortunate person who has enough in my pensions to mean that I pay basic rate tax across the board. I know I am lucky to have enough money to be able to contribute taxes. If only all people eligible to pay their fair share of tax we would not be cutting more from those at the bottom of the pile and the gap between rich and poor would not be growing at such an alarming rate.
Ricky Tomlinson expressed his delight that the ‘Townsend Theatre Company’ were presenting the play about the Building Worker’s strike in 1972, who were jailed with charges of conspiracy 41 years ago. Now in 2014 campaigners are trying to get the release of Government documents relating to that strike and the subsequent trials. He and his fellow strikers felt that the conspiracy was perpetrated rather by the government, the building contractors and the judiciary than by the strikers. He wanted every worker to know what happened to them so as to ensure it does not happen again.

This entry was posted in Entertainment, Faith/Personal, Government, Justice, Miscellaneous/Personal, Music and Musicals, Work and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s