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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 November 2014

Theatre Review: United We Stand

RickyTomlinson, photo Harry Smith

RickyTomlinson, photo Harry Smith

Reviewed by Kate Jones, Socialist Party Wales

It is the summer of 1972, two years into a Tory government, and building workers take strike action against the 'Lump' - the use of cash-in-hand non-union labour in the building industry.

Flying pickets travel from site to site, and succeed in persuading workers to join the union, and the strike. The bosses retaliate. The big building companies, and their Tory allies, decide to teach the trade unions a lesson.

Des Warren and Eric 'Ricky' Tomlinson are two workers who pay a heavy price, when 24 pickets are charged with a variety of offences, including 'conspiracy to intimidate and affray'. Conspiracy laws, not used since the days of Queen Victoria, are a stick to punish the workers.

United We Stand, currently touring, is a political - and highly entertaining - two-man show, which uses humour, music and puppets to tell the story of the strike and its aftermath. The audience become the workers at the strike meeting and the public at the trial. News and other footage from the time are projected on to a sheet draped over the scaffolding that makes up a simple set.

Over 40 years later, the campaign to overturn the verdicts continues. On tour with the play is an exhibition from the official Shrewsbury 24 Campaign. As Des Warren told his trial: "The only conspiracy was between the government, the employers and the police".

Ricky Tomlinson, today supporting the play, comments: "They wanted the prison sentences to act as a deterrent to prevent workers from taking strike action. Every worker should know what happened to us to ensure it does not happen again." United We Stand is a play which every trade unionist and activist should see.


United We Stand by Neil Gore

Townsend Productions in association with the official Shrewsbury 24Campaign www.townsendproductions.org.uk

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In The Socialist 12 November 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

We can win 10 an hour

Socialism '14: infused with contagious confidence

'A magical fairyland' of corporate tax avoiders

What recovery? Thousands more jobs axed

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Afghanistan war: A legacy of death and destruction

Mid-term elections do not mean shift to right in US


Socialist history

25 years after the Berlin Wall fell


Socialist Party youth and students

Build the education fightback

Fight for our future!


Socialist Party workplace news

St Mungo's strikers celebrate victory

Care UK workers to ballot on 2% pay deal

Sheffield recycling: 'We're out until the boss is out'

Crane drivers tell HTC: It's time to pay up!

Fight JCB's 150 job cuts

London RMT: Vote John Reid


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Leading Scottish trade unionists back TUSC

Leicester party building school


Reviews and readers' comments

Exhibition review: Disobedient Objects

Theatre Review: United We Stand

Little charity from high paid care bosses

Labour - the singer or the song?

Flawed maths of the bedroom tax


Obituary

Heulwen Davies 1960-2014


 

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