News International Strike 1986
- Date start:
- 24 Jan 1986
- Date end:
- Feb 1987
The strike marked the beginning of a year-long industrial dispute between print unions and News International, a conglomerate of newspapers including The Sun, The Times, and The News of the World owned by Rupert Murdoch. The dispute centred on Murdoch's decision in 1985 to move the business from Fleet Street, the traditional home of the newspaper industry since the 18th century, to a cheaper, purpose-built site in Wapping, east London. New technology installed in the Wapping premises threatened the livelihood of many of the newspaper group's printers. Additionally, workers didn't agree with the proposed working conditions at the new site, which included a non-strike clause.
The protest was sparked by the group's immediate dismissal of 5,500 workers who chose to strike on 24 January 1987. So as not to lose a day of business, Murdoch employed members of the electricians union, the E.E.T.P.U, to keep the printers running. In support of the dismissed workers, print unions called for a boycott of four of the newspapers involved, and organised regular marches and demonstrations at the company's new printing plant. A large-scale police operation was launched to protect the site.
As the dispute continued, the struggle between the unions and the police and Murdoch became increasingly militant, and attracted nationwide media attention. In February 1987 the strike collapsed, protesters lost their fight, and more and more business moved to the Docklands site. Following businessman Eddie Shah's defeat of printer unions' protests at his newspaper plant in Warrington in 1983, the Wapping dispute marked a significant weakening of the power of the unions over newspaper industry.
- Wapping Dispute
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