The Shrewsbury Pickets outside the Court of Appeal Feb 2021

Welcome

Download and print an information sheet about the campaign here.

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Please be aware that we are the official campaign. There are other organisations, mainly based in London, with websites who are purporting to represent the convicted pickets. We wish to confirm to you that our campaign committee, based in the North West, is the only body that is acting for and has the support of the pickets.

Shrewsbury 24 campaign

We seek to overturn the unjust prosecution of 24 building workers following the first ever national building workers strike in 1972. They picketed building sites in Shrewsbury and were prosecuted in 1973. They became known as the “Shrewsbury 24”.

Our main focus is an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to have these cases referred to the Court of Appeal and for these miscarriages of justice to be overturned. It was submitted on the 3rd April 2012. Find out more...

The Road to the Court of Appeal

The pickets’ case was heard by the Court of Appeal on 3 and 4 February 2021. The judgement was released on the 23rd March 2021, which announced that the pickets’ convictions have been quashed. Find out more here.

The appeal is the result of the Campaign persuading the CCRC to refer eight pickets’ convictions to the appeal court though sadly two other pickets had given up in 2017 when the CCRC turned down the cases. Find out more here and  here.

The CCRC originally turned down the case in 2017, but was challenged successfully at a judicial review in April 2019.

Pickets Victory Celebration

On Sunday 26 September the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, the Shrewsbury pickets and their families were finally able to celebrate the magnificent victory at the Court of Appeal on 23 March 2021 when all the pickets’ convictions were quashed. The celebration, at St David’s Hotel, Ewloe, had been postponed from June, due to Wales’s continuing Covid regulations restricting indoor gatherings.

Group photo of attendees

Group photo of the attendees at the victory celebration, September 2021.

We began the afternoon with a showing of the 1974 film, Free the Six, by Jeff Perks and Michael Rosen to remind us all of the dreadful conditions that prevailed on building sites in the 1970’s. The film also included contemporaneous interviews with the pickets’ families. Later we watched a warm message from Elsa Warren, who explained what Des Warren went through when he was given the longest prison sentence of three years. The video of Ian Prowse singing Alun Parry’s song, My name is Dessie Warren, was inspiring and got many of us singing along with it.

The most emotional part of the afternoon was when the pickets spoke about what they went through in 1973-74. Particularly moving was hearing, for the first time, family members speaking about what it was like for them. Heartbreaking stories such as being told by kids in the school playground that their dad was in jail. Feeling a sense of shame about their dad throughout their lives. But worst of all, not knowing what really happened, as none of the pickets would ever talk about it. This celebration helped to open the door to the truth: that their dads/grandads/ husbands/ brothers/ uncles were not guilty of the charges that were so wrongly brought against them. They were trade unionists standing up for their rights and those of fellow building workers against ruthless employers.

There were many tears but also much laughter, as pickets’ families met each other for the first time. Many of them had known each other within North Wales over the years but were unaware of what connected them – they were all related to a Shrewsbury picket!

The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign left the celebratory event with a sense of pride and satisfaction in the knowledge that we had stood with the pickets and never gave up the fight for justice. We had helped to bring so much happiness to so many people.

The pickets had achieved the justice they deserved. We never gave up – and we won!

Jeremy Corbyn joins Shrewsbury 24 celebration

Read the Shropshire Star article.

Celebration in Shrewsbury

Shropshire and Telford Trades Council put on a marvellous celebratory event for the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign and pickets on Saturday 2 October. The Trades Council officers Gemma Offland, Ash Silverstone and Brett Davies, together with former secretary Mike Edwards, led local trade unionists with their banners in greeting us at Shrewsbury train station. We marched the short distance to the venue, St Nicholas Community Centre, displaying our specially made banner declaring, “Shrewsbury 24 Campaign – WE WON”.

Brett introduced the afternoon’s festivities by describing the support that the Trades Council has given to the Campaign and the pickets over the years. Brett, Mike and others had been with us in Birmingham when we submitted the pickets’ application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission’s office on the 3 April 2012 in Birmingham. They have stayed with us through thick and thin ever since.

Brett congratulated us all on our tenacity, resilience and staunch trade union principles. He described the joy that all the delegates felt when they heard that we had won the case at the Court of Appeal. He applauded that, “The pickets and the campaign never gave up and have succeeded, not just for the pickets but the whole trade union and labour movement.”

Jeremy Corbyn praised the pickets and the Campaign and congratulated Eileen Turnbull on her tremendous work as the Campaign’s researcher. He highlighted her determination and stamina in travelling the country to obtain evidence that was used by Bindmans solicitors and Danny Friedman QC to secure a tremendous victory for the pickets in the Court of Appeal.

During the afternoon there were also speeches from Terry Renshaw, POA General Secretary Steve Gillan and Rob Williams of the NSSN. Singer-songwriter Ian Prowse made a guest appearance to sing My Name is Dessie Warren.

The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign and pickets wish to thank Shropshire and Telford Trades Council for arranging such a brilliant and memorable day. Your support will never be forgotten.

Walking with the Shewsbury 24 We Won banner through Shrewsbury.

Leading the march through Shrewsbury to the celebratory event organised by Shropshire & Telford Trades Council, Saturday 2 October.

Building worker pickets (back row L-R) Bernard Williams, Kevin Butcher, Michael Pierce, Terry Renshaw and Ken O'Shea, (front row, L-R) Dawn and Melanie McKinsie Jones, Eileen Turnbull (Researcher) and Harry Chadwick (Chairperson)

Building worker pickets (back row L-R) Bernard Williams, Kevin Butcher, Michael Pierce, Terry Renshaw and Ken O’Shea, (front row, L-R) Dawn and Melanie McKinsie Jones, Eileen Turnbull (Researcher) and Harry Chadwick (Chairperson).

 The Campaign

The Strike

The Pickets