The Halifax area and the Building Workers’ Great strike in the summer of 1972

 

In the summer of 1972 Building Workers nationally took strike action and ended up winning their largest ever pay rise. Key to this success was the organising of local strike committees and the successful employment of flying pickets. The strike, during which the rank and file refused to allow their national officers to take control,  took place in a year when many workers were on strike with the miners’ also winning a famous victory. The state was to later hit back against BW activists and three were sent to prison.

 

Cloth Workers Strike in Halifax in 1925

 

This is a remarkable success story where 10,000 local members of National Union of Textile Workers joined around 150,000 + members regionally to win a battle over pay. Combined with a temporary solution to the then coal crisis the textile workers victory boosted the morale of the trade union movement and suggested that if trade unionists, with the assistance of the relatively new Trades Union Congress General Council, could achieve unity in action then it was possible to defeat attacks on pay and conditions.