Tuesday 23 March 2021

Justice at last for the Shrewsbury pickets - but the truth is still not out

 Aberdeen Trades Union Council sends congratulations and solidarity to the Shrewsbury pickets who have had their convictions quashed after 48 years.

The Court of Appeal has overturned the convictions of 14 men sentenced for their involvement in pickets during the national builders' strike in 1972.

They were charged with offences including unlawful assembly and conspiracy to intimidate. The men have argued for the last 48 years that they should never have been convicted and denied all the charges. Many were then blacklisted and found it extrememly difficult to get work.

The Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson was among those convicted. He was jailed for two years. He has been campaigning ever since to see justice done.

Speaking after the verdict, he said: "It is only right that these convictions are overturned."

However the men have always claimed that what was done to them was a much bigger conspiracy that went straight to the top, and that Ted Heath, the then Prime Minister, was involved.

Ricky is calling for a  public inquiry so this can be brought into the open, "to see the collusion between the politicians and the police to teach us a lesson.

"This was about keeping workers down, keeping us in our place," said Ricky.

Their lawyers had argued the destruction of witness statements made their convictions unsafe and the judge, Lord Justice Fulford said "what occurred was unfair".

Six of the 14 who brought the action have since died, including Dennis Warren, who was jailed for three years.

Mr Tomlinson added: "My thoughts today are with my friend and comrade Des Warren."I'm just sorry he is not here today so we can celebrate, but I'm sure he's with us in spirit.

"But what’s really impressed me, kept us going, is the support from working people all over the country who suffered the heavy hand of the authorities."

We stand with you still!