Online Archive  
Issue 10 - February 1973
The 7,500 workers at Steel's in Sunderland have been on strike since the beginning of January.

The factory was recently taken over by the Acrow Engineering Group, and the strike began when the company failed to honour agreements.

Since the 1971 Social Security Act, the non-payment of benefit to single strikers has been a major government weapon to stop strikes.

Thus Claimants Unions, by forcing the SS to give emergency payments, can give great support to strikers.

Durham Claimants Union have these last two weeks been helping strikers at a centre set up for them in a drill hall in Seaburn, and the following are a few of the things our members found out on arrival:

1) The weekend emergency system was according to the manager closed to strikers and their families.

2) SS officers were refusing to accept claims from single strikers.

3) SS officers were not taking down all the facts - e.g. about HP commitments that strikers had to meet.

4) SS officers were arrogant and unhelpful. One or two of them tried their hardest after the CU arrived to get them to lose their tempers in order for them (the SS) to get shop stewards to ask us to leave: a trick they've tried before.

According to one shop steward the SS actually phoned them up and told them we were starting a small riot. If this was true it would have been a big one (Pete thinks big).

5) The manager was not available on request. I asked for him at one time and was told he wasn't in, when in fact he was behind me, talking to a shop steward. The SS officer was facing him.

These are just a few of the things the SS get up to during strikes.

If we had not gone to help out it would probably still be going on now, with the strikers and their families going through a lot of unnecessary hardship.

A copy of this report is being sent to the Home Office, SS headquarters, and the Lord Chancellor demanding an official enquiry.

Durham CU is now in debt: if anyone would like to help keep us going please send donations to DCU. Postal orders etc payable to G L Turnbull or P Carroll, 13 Silver St, Durham City.