Over ten thousand dockyard workers demonstrated this afternoon over the reported intention of the British Government to close down the Naval dockyard at Malta.
South Gate - H.M. Dockyard time 2:45 pm - usual time for breaking off 3:45 pm Friday after pay.
Workers leaving & running for buses - supplied "tree of charge"
by the General Workers Union (G. W U)
Water showing time of day.
Pan of crowd at the GRANNARIES FLORIANA - where most GWU meeting are held.
7 8 9.
Shots of various representatives posters.
10 11 12.
Mr Ca[illegible] with moustache - spectacles - Secretary of Propaganda (Administrative Dept.) H.M. Dockyard said "This is the time for us to make a peaceful demonstration of our rights. Those who revert to hooliganism - damage to property are no friends of ours & are not on our side."
Mr Debous Secretary of the Admiralty Section of the G.W.U. follows.
Further shots of posters & sections of crowd.
Pan shot from neighbouring wharf of crowds on the Grannaries
March on Kings gate at Dawn
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Background: Over ten thousand dockyard workers demonstrated this afternoon over the reported intention of the British Government to close down the Naval dockyard at Malta.
The meeting, sponsored by the General Workers Union, was held at the Grannaries Floriana - a popular spot for such meetings. One of the speakers, the moustached and spectacled Secretary of Propaganda, Admiralty Department, said: "This is the time for us to make a peaceful demonstration of our rights. Those who revert to hooliganism and damage to property are no friends of ours and are not on our side."
Mr Debous, Secretary of the Admiralty Section of the General Workers Union, was another speaker.
The meeting subsequently received a message from Mr Mintoff, the Prime Minister, that he had heard from the British Colonial Secretary that the dockyard would not be closed overnight. There was work for another three years, the present employment level would be maintained there would be no drastic economies, and it was not yet known whether the yard would in future take Admiralty work or civilian work, or both.
This statement satisfied the workers, and they cancelled a national meeting which was arranged for Sunday and also a march into Valetta.
The precarious situation of the dockyard has become a major issue in Malta, and even parish priests have intervened condemning an eventual closing of the yard before alternative employment has been found for the workers.
All Government departments close today to allow employees to at end the meeting. The entrance of and approaches to Valetta were plastered with posters saying "the closing of the dockyard would affect everyone" and "the closing of the dockyard would be a disaster."