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Wapping dispute remembered

26 January 2011

Veterans of the historic Wapping fight joined a large crowd of media workers to attended a meeting in Fleet Street on Tuesday to mark the 25th anniversary of the News International dispute.

Wapping strikers and NUJ "refuseniks" joined leading trade union speakers to address the meeting at St Bride's Institute in London's Fleet Street. Together, they recalled the fight against Rupert Murdoch's attempt to destroy trade unions in the newspaper industry.

The event was hosted by the NUJ and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF), and supported by Unite/GPM.

On January 24, 1986, Rupert Murdoch's News International group moved production of its four national newspapers to Wapping in London's Docklands. Over 5,000 production and clerical workers were sacked overnight. The journalists were not sacked, but more than 100 – the "refuseniks" – took a stand on principle and walked out of their jobs.

A multimedia exhibition later this year, organised by the NUJ and Unite's GPM sector, will offer dramatic images and accounts of the historic dispute. It will open on May Day, 1 May, at the Marx Memorial Library on Clerkenwell Green.

The St Brides meeting was chaired by Tim Gopsill (CPBF and NUJ) and heard from;

  • Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke
  • Jeremy Corbyn MP
  • Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary
  • Megan Dobney, Southern and Eastern region TUC secretary
  • Pat Healy, Wapping NUJ refusenik
  • John Lang, former News International SOGAT rep, and
  • Granville Wlliams of the CPBF

Tags: , newspapers, news corp, wapping, rupert murdoch, strike, unite, tuc, sogat, cpbf