1996: Women Of The Waterfront Petition PM

Here’s the first of 2008’s ‘on this day’ features documenting the history of Merseyside resistance, taken from the calendar in Nerve magazine.

Women Of The Waterfront handed in a petition at 10 Downing Street, calling on Prime Minister John Major to order “the immediate reinstatement of the 500 sacked Liverpool dockers”, and describing the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company as “a callous, uncaring and bad employer”. The strike (or more precisely ‘lockout’) began when the five hundred refused to cross a picket line.

The Women Of The Waterfront played an important role in the dispute, which lasted two and a half years. Since the vast majority of the striking dockers were male, their female relatives formed the group so they could coordinate their activities. As well as organising petitions, they attended pickets, went on an international tour, and helped generate funds and publicity for the striking workers and their families. Their struggle was portrayed in Jimmy McGovern and Irvine Welsh’s television film ‘Dockers’.

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