The release of the five imprisoned dock-workers in London on Wednesday (July 26), whose jailing at the weekend had brought 130,00 workers out in strike throughout the country, came after a successful appeal to the Industrial Relations Court by the Official Solicitor -- a court official whose job it is to protect people jailed for contempt, as in the case of the dockers.
GTV Crowd with banners outside prison (3 shots)
GTV Crowds ZOOM TO deckers being released form ail, and greeted by cheering crowds
SV Dockers carried shoulder-higher by crowds (NATSOF ONLY FROM 24 FEET (7.3 METRES 38 SECS)
SV Dockers onto rostrum
SCU Docker Bernie Steer addressing crowd
IN: "I don't think....."
OUT: "....mistake about that."
SV Dockers off rostrum and into car (3 shots)
REPORTER: "The big crowd outside the prison, steadily reinforced in the past four days by strikers from the North and from Scotland, heard the news on transistor radios soon after the court announced its decision. And in the sweltering heat, their jubilation grew swiftly.
"By the time the first of the five men stepped through the prison door into the sunshine, their reception was highly-organised. Traffic had been stopped, the demonstrations marshalled to make way for what they thought was a victory parade, and the police warned in no uncertain terms to stay in the background.
"First, a ritual celebration drink, then the speeches."
RELEASED DOCKER BERNIE STEER: "I don't think we should....all we can say is this. That the five of us was put here by a political court, and it's the trade union movement that got us out. (APPLAUSE) We are so overwhelmed with the support....because without you we would We are so overwhelmed with the support...because without you we would still be in there. Make no mistake about that." (APPLAUSE)
REPORTER: "Reporters had been firmly told that the three would go straight home after their speeches and talk to nobody. And so within a few minutes of their release from prison, still nobody. And so within a few minutes of their release from prison, still mobbed by their jubilant supporters, and still repentant, they were driven away."
Initials OS/115 OS/148
This film, showing the release of the five dockers and their heroes' reception outside the jail, is provided with an English voice-on-film commentary by a British Broadcasting Corporation reporter over natural sound, and ??? victory speech by one of the freed men. A transcript of this commentary is provided overleaf, and an ALTERNATIVE written commentary is also provided.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The release of the five imprisoned dock-workers in London on Wednesday (July 26), whose jailing at the weekend had brought 130,00 workers out in strike throughout the country, came after a successful appeal to the Industrial Relations Court by the Official Solicitor -- a court official whose job it is to protect people jailed for contempt, as in the case of the dockers. The five men were originally january by the court for being in contempt of an order to stop picketing a container firm's dockside depot in an effort to prevent the movement of containers packed by non-dock labour.
As the five jailed dockers were released, thousands of workers gathered outside the jail staged a 'victory rally' with the five men held shoulder-high. Throughout the country, meanwhile, unofficial strikes for their release had shut down industry, ports, newspapers, and food markets, and disrupted bus and air services. The Trades Union Congress -- a parent body to 140 British unions had also, only a few hours earlier, called for a general one-day strike throughout the country to take place on Monday (July 31). It was the first time in its history of more than a hundred years that the T.U.C. had called on its unions to take part in a general strike. The T.U.C. has almost ten million members of a total British workforce of 25 million.
Britain's last general strike took place in June 1926, and lasted for nine days. It followed a management decision to cut wages in the coalfields.
Wednesday's successful appeal by the Official Solicitor for the release of the dockers was based on three legal arguments. The first two -- rejected by the Court -- were that the dockers were not 'real criminals' and that their imprisonment had been 'a real punishment'; and that their continued imprisonment under the circumstances would be useless. But the third argent was upheld -- that and earlier decision the same day by the Law Lords of the House of Lords, the highest court in the country, seemed to indicate that under such circumstances unions should take the brunt of punishment in fines, and that it should not fall upon individual members. The decision which led to the dockers' release was the reversal of an Appeal Court decision to quash fines imposed upon a major union for the conduct of its shop stewards -- thus finally making payable making payable the fines, imposed originally by the same court which jailed the dockers.