Head Office Circular No. NP/179/16/BO
To all Branches & Regional Councils
Wednesday 6 July 2016
Commemorating 40 years since the Grunwick strike
The historic Grunwick strike was sparked by the dismissal of Devshi Bhudia on Friday 20 August 1976 for working too slowly. Three other young men walked out in support of him. At 6.55pm legendary Jayaben Desai put on her coat to leave and was called into the office where she was dismissed for doing so. Her son Sunil walked out in support of her. On 23 August 1976 the six began picketing outside Grunwick and more workers joined their side. On 2 September 1976 all 137 striking workers were dismissed from the company's employ and the next two years saw a bitter struggle and huge displays of support for them, and in which many RMT activists played a memorable part.
The solidarity they and other trade unionists showed to the mainly Asian women striker’s was in the face of considerable police violence with the highest number of arrests (over 500) in the course of an industrial dispute since the great strike of 1926.
RMT is now supporting local activists in Willesden and Brent Trade Council who are planning to erect murals in commemoration of the strike, hold a major exhibition with associated learning events, as well as a day event later in the year which will commemorate the activists but also relate it to the struggles we face today.
Please support all these events both practically and financially by donating. Also encourage members to sign up to www.facebook.com/Grunwick40/ and register for e-mail updates. You can also invite speakers to future meetings linking this to a showing of one of the films produced about the strike.
Please bring this circular to all member’s attention, support the events in any way possible and please try and get along if you can.