Researcher & Treasurer: Eileen Turnbull (GMB)
In 2008, as a campaign committee member, I was asked to carry out research into the background of the case and obtain new evidence that would support the application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) on behalf of the convicted pickets. My remit was to obtain evidence that would satisfy the terms of reference of the CCRC. I examined the background to the dispute, the activities during the strike including the picketing at Shrewsbury, the employers campaign to have strikers prosecuted, the arrests and charges, the trials, conviction and appeals. I agreed to do this on a voluntary basis.
All work carried out by committee members is done on a voluntary basis. All money raised by the campaign pays for legal costs.
It was quite a daunting task and one I quickly realised was going to be an uphill struggle. The biggest problem has been the passage of time. The events surrounding the national building workers’ dispute were almost 40 years ago. Contacting people and obtaining documents has proved difficult. Tracking down sources of original evidence has been challenging.
Whilst carrying out this research I have encountered some of the nicest, honest and helpful people, who have willingly provided me with information and documents. Sadly, I have also come across downright obstruction and mischief from individuals and organisations. They have either provided me with misleading information or openly refused to cooperate with us.
I have been humbled by the pickets’ recollections of this horrific time that was to have such a devastating effect on them for the rest of their lives. Many of them have not seen each other since the trials in the early 1970s. It was remarkable to hear from them that most of the people charged with conspiracy hardly knew each other at the time of the dispute. During the strike they picketed in a number of areas and it was just by coincidence that they were together on September 6th 1972.
I have worked closely with the lawyers whom we instructed to progress the case. We submitted the application to the CCRC on 3rd April 2012. My research has been ongoing. We have submitted a further three tranches of evidence and expect their decision within the next six months.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask anyone who has information about the case to contact me, either by e-mail or telephone. If required, any information and sources will be kept in strict confidence. Click here for details.