Year of the Beaver

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Transport and General Workers Union boss Jack Jones dubbed 1977 'Year of the Beaver', a time to encourage productivity and smoother union-management relations. It was also the year of the strike at the Grunwick photo processing plant. This documentary investigation into the 'staged media event' surrounding that strike, compiled from a mass of material (TV and independent interviews, news, radio and newspaper reports), builds up to a powerful indictment of the vacillation, compromise, and eventual betrayal by the official labour movement leadership, faced with the defence of the largely immigrant and female staff of George Ward's 'little photographic works' in West London. All the familiar spectacle of recent years is there: massed police ranks, hysterical reporting, Thatcher's dulcet tones urging the destruction of union power... Essential viewing for anyone interested in the mechanics of the evolving media show of industrial relations in our 'civilised state'.

By: WH

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