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UNION VETERANS AT BATTLE ANNIVERSARY.

Byline: Jon Griffin

A ONE-OFF reunion of trade union veterans from 40 years ago is set to revive memories of the historic Battle of Saltley Gate - when a 15,000-strong human blockade changed history.

Members of radical Handsworthbased performing group Banner Theatre are staging The Battle of Saltley Gate musical at South Birmingham College tomorrow night. It is part of a weekend festival marking the 40th anniversary of the infamous union march on the Birmingham fuel depot.

The events at Saltley led to the closure of the last remaining fuel depot still open in the UK and forced the Government to cave in and award striking miners a 21 per cent pay rise.

One of the organisers, Godfrey Webster, of Birmingham Trade Union Council, said: "The Battle of Saltley Gate combines song, theatre and video to capture the decisive moment in the miners' strike of 1972.

"Interactive workshops at Unite headquarters on Broad Street will look at how recent and past victories were achieved and what lessons will be learnt directly from those involved. Miners, dockers, construction workers, students and activists will share their experiences.

"In 1972 workers' wages and working conditions were under attack with the introduction of the Government's Industrial Relations Act. "In 2012 workers face similar challenges with massive attacks on pensions, wages and the NHS."

Union panellists taking part include Colin Fitzer, former branch secretary at Rover Solihull, Bob Whiskens, ex-steward at Rover Tyseley, Norman Goodwin, a shop steward from GKN Salisbury Transmissions who led a contingent of workers to Saltley Gate, Dave Douglas, an NUM branch official at Hat-field Main Colliery in Doncaster, and others.

Saturday workshop speakers will include ex-construction industry activist Gerry Kelly and former docks shop steward Bob Light.

More information about The Battle of Saltley Gate musical are available on 0121 551 7216.

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Battle of Saltley Gate: Miners from Staffordshire and South Wales arrive for picket duty at Saltley in 1972.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 21, 2012
Words:322
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