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Events will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Grunwick strike in Dollis Hill

PUBLISHED: 14:16 22 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:04 22 February 2016

Supporters of the 'strikers in saris' assemble outside the Grunwick factory to support the demand for trade union recognition

Supporters of the 'strikers in saris' assemble outside the Grunwick factory to support the demand for trade union recognition

brent archives

Plans have started for a big celebration of a Dollis Hill protest that had far reaching consequences for all workers in the UK.

Engineering Union leader Hugh Scanlon, who joined the pickets at the Grunwick film processing plant in Willesden, North London.Engineering Union leader Hugh Scanlon, who joined the pickets at the Grunwick film processing plant in Willesden, North London.

Residents are invited to get involved in a series of events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Grunwick strike including an exhibition in the autumn.

Workshops are being organised to create a huge mural near to the former factory near Dollis Hill tube station.

There was a heavy police prescene at the strikesThere was a heavy police prescene at the strikes

The dispute at the Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories in Chapter Road, was sparked by the dismissal of Devshi Bhudia for working too slowly which led to a two-year strike between 1976 and 1978.

At its height, more than 20,000 people came out to support the predominantly Asian workers subbed the ‘strikers in saris’ by marching down Willesden High Road.

Jayaben Desai on the picket lineJayaben Desai on the picket line

Jayaben Desai who led the strike sadly died in 2010. The former site of the factory was renamed Grunwick Close weeks after her death.

Sujata Aurora, of the Grunwick organising group, said: “We really want people to be involved with the design. It will be a colourful celebration of the unity that the strike represented across the country.

Jayaben Desai in 2006Jayaben Desai in 2006

“It’s open to anyone aged 13 and over who want to get involved in this permanent reminder of what Grunwick was about.”

Ms Aurora added: “The staff were mainly Asian women who were treated badly by their employer with terrible working conditions and low wages. The workforce felt very polarised and there was a huge amount of racism.

“As it was a photo processing factory the post office was important to them in terms of running their business. When the post office decided it wouldn’t handle Grunwick mail, it called to action others who would support them.

“Arthur Scargill (the then president of president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) turned up with huge numbers from northern England to support this little local dispute.

“For the first time white workers came out in unity with Asian workers.

“That’s why we want to make it such a significant event.”

To get involved contact grunwick40@gmail.com

For more information follow facebook.com/Grunwick40 or twitter at @grunwick40.

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