Amid angry scenes outside Transport House, the London headquarters of the Trades Union Congress, dockers on Wednesday (July 29) were amongst the first to hear that their tow-end-half week strike was over.
GV Dockers outside Transport House (2 shots)
SV Dock officials leaving to chants and jeers
CU Placards and banners TILT DOWN TO dockers chanting "Sold Out" at Union officials
SV PAN Dockers chanting "We want jobs"
GTV Two dockers shouting
STV Dockers argue amongst themselves (3 shots)
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Background: Amid angry scenes outside Transport House, the London headquarters of the Trades Union Congress, dockers on Wednesday (July 29) were amongst the first to hear that their tow-end-half week strike was over.
The dockers will return to work next Monday (August 3), but there is the possibility that some perishable foodstuffs will be offloaded before then.
The stoppage, which has been described as the most "docile major strike" in years, was over an increase in basic rates of pay.
The pent up feelings of the dockers, however, came to a head at the special delegate meeting when 82 working dockers, representing ports from all over the country, made the vital decision to return to work.
Their meeting had been expected to last for one hour. Instead, it went on for nearly three hours as militant delegates reportedly made a bitter stand in a bid to extract an even better deal from the employers.
By giving the men an average weekly increase of two pounds and ten shillings sterling, the Committee's recommendation meant a guaranteed 20 pounds a week for all. With the addition of certain fringe benefits, the increase would put many men in the 2,000 a year category.
When the new wage plan was put to the delegates it was accepted by 51 votes to 31 - but only as an interim measure.
Faced with this majority decision to accept, the 31 dissenters then decided to go along with the majority when a vote was taken to resume work the following Monday. The vote was unanimous.
There were angry scenes outside when the decision was passed on to the crowd.
"They have sold us down the river", and "The Tories have won" were some of the comments shouted at the delegates ad they left the building.
This show of angry defiance gave added impetus to fear that although, officially, the strike is over, there could be a danger of its being continued unofficially by splinter groups of men.
If the strike had lasted much longer it would have had a crippling effect on Britain's economy. The value of delayed export is estimated at 500 million pounds.