|Issue 13 - June 1973|
24 building workers face a total of 214 charges arising out of their
actions in pursuit of official union policy during the building workers'
strike in September 1972. The most important of these charges is one
of 'conspiracy'. These charges were laid five months after the alleged
offences and they represent a new initiative by the Tory Government
against the hard-won rights of trade unionists.
The open use of the Industrial Relations Act has provoked such a reaction from the trade union movement that it has been put in mothballs. Instead, to avoid attracting too much attention to their mania for total control, the Tories hope to achieve the same results using older legislation.
The charge of conspiracy can be applied if a person is suspected of even just planning action against the so-called interests of the state - this means actions against the controlling elites' interests of profit, property and private privilege. The result of the forthcoming court case against the Shrewsbury workers to be held early next month will have serious and widespread consequences on the whole trade union movement and, in particular, on the rights of strikers and pickets.
The Government success or failure in this section will depend, to a large extent, on the recognition of this threat by trade unionists and their reaction to it. The government hopes that their conspiracy will be a silent one. Local protests and demonstrations are being planned in support of the Shrewsbury building workers to frustrate this hope. All local trade unionists and members of the Labour movement are urged to give their support.