Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Cyril Smith and the Lesley Molseed murder.....

Back in 2012 I sent off the following series of questions to Greater Manchester Police on this and received the response at the bottom of the page. I did not subsequently write an article on this. 


Dear GMP,

Please find attached an article I wrote five years ago on Ronald Castree, who was subsequently rightly convicted of the murder of Lesley Molseed in 1975.

After this article was published a Rochdale resident told me: "Castree was a Liberal Party member and a friend of Cyril Smith MP who vouched for him when Police Officers were looking for suspects in the murder case." 

Can I ask the following for an article I am writing.

1) Was Cyril Smith questioned and/or asked to provide information in the Lesley Molseed case in 1975?

2) Did Cyril Smith 'vouch for' Ronald Castree in the Lesley Molseed murder case?


Issued by GMP Press Office
Tel: 0161 856 2220
Fax: 0161 856 2236
Email: press.office@gmp.police.uk
 

Hi Mark, 

Unfortunately I don't think we will be able to assist with this. 


Our computerised records do not go as far back as 1975, and the SIO for this investigation is no longer at GMP so I do not think we can assist with this. 


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sheffield's role in Kinder Scout trespass celebrated


Sheffield’s role in the 1932 Kinder Scout mass trespass that helped pave the way for National Parks and the right to roam in open countryside was celebrated on 26 April at Sheffield Town Hall by 200 people.  
There is a plaque at the entrance to Sheffield Town Hall
to commemorate
all ramblers who campaigned for
National Parks and public access to mountains and moorland. 

On 24 April 1932, Benny Rothman, a lifelong activist within the Amalgamated Engineering Union that exists today in the form of Unite, led 400 people on Kinder Scout in what is now the Peak District. Ignoring opposition from gamekeepers the walkers successfully crossed the private moorland as they sought to assert the right to roam Britain’s mountains and moorlands.

Encouraged by landowners, represented in Parliament by the Tories, the police reacted to this deliberate defiance of the law by arresting six of the trespassers and four were subsequently jailed for between two and six months. The subsequent wave of public sympathy helped highlight the issue of countryside access. In 1949, a radical reforming Labour government passed the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act. At which point the Peak District became the first of fifteen National Parks.

The right to roam took much longer to win. In 1982, with access still restricted on many local hills, 2000 Ramblers celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the mass trespass by following the same path. According to Terry Howard, Sheffield Ramblers chairman, “Benny Rothman addressed us in the quarry where the original trespass had started. He helped inspire a whole new generation like myself to finish what earlier campaigners had started.”

In 2000, under another Labour Government, the Countryside Rights of Way Act established the right to roam on certain upland and uncultivated areas of England and Wales. Many new paths allowing open access have been created.

However, Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, warned the Sheffield audience there are “4,000 paths waiting to be added to access maps. By remaining unrecorded they can be built upon and lost. Another 10,000 pathways also need repairing. This crisis is worsening due to massive local government cuts to staff responsible for right to roam legislation.

“We know our campaigns save lives because countless figures show that fresh air is good for people. Furthermore, the Walkers are Welcome Network established in 2007 is boosting local economies by encouraging visits to the countryside.

“Open country, green spaces and public paths are not a luxury but a vital need. However, on many issues such as the badger cull, new regulations encouraging village greens to be developed and cuts at Kew Gardens this government thrives on dogma not research.

Whilst celebrating events in 1932 countryside campaigners cannot be complacent if we wish to retain, and extend, the rights we have won. We too can change the world.”

The event was organised by the Kinder and High Peak Advisory Committee, whose spokesperson, Roly Smith, expressed his “delight at the good turn out which shows that Sheffield retains its strong rambling tradition."  


All photographs are copyright Mark Harvey of ID8 photography. 

International Workers Memorial in Bathgate, West Lothian

Forty people gathered yesterday at the International Workers Memorial in Bathgate, West Lothian to commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day. 

The memorial is located in Bathgate Sports Park, below which lies the remains of Balbardie Colliery, where on Tuesday 19 February 1895 a boiler explosion killed Richard Biswick, a fireman employed by the owners (Henry Walker and Cameron) and Robert Strickland, a tramp who happened to be in one of the fire holes when the boiler exploded.

In 1992 an International Workers Day Memorial was commissioned by the Lothian Federation of Trades Councils. Since when every April 28th a special ceremony is held to Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living. 

For more details on the explosion see http://scottishmining.co.uk/indexes/1895deaths.html 

There is book which gives greater details about the explosion: Historic Steam Boiler Explosions is by Alan McEwen and available at www.sledgehammerengineeringpress.co.uk 

Many thanks to Jim Swan, West Lothian TUC secretary and Unite member, for the photograph and information on this important memorial. 

  

Miners' strike film festival in Salford

Last Cage Down – film festival in Salford

The Working Class Movement Library is excited to announce details of its second mini film festival.  Last Cage Downhas a mining theme, to mark the 30th anniversary of the miners' strike. All screenings are free - including free popcorn...

Mon 12 May 7pm The Road to Drumleman tells the story of brotherhood at the Argyll Colliery (1947-1967). When artist Jan Nimmo's dad, a former shot firer at the pit, died, she sought out the remaining men who had worked alongside him to piece together the story of Scotland's most remote coal mine.  Jan’s husband Paul will introduce the film.
Tues 13 May 7pm The Last Strike, followed by a talk by Dave Douglass, the NUM activist known as ‘Danny the Red'. In 1984 a French TV crew made what Dave describes as the best film made about the strike, La Dernière Grève. It focuses on St Helen's, and the solidarity of Lancashire miners and the key role played by women come powerfully across.
Wed 14 May 7pm Last Pit in the Valley Irwell Valley Mining Project's acknowledgement of lost Salford pits and reminder of miners' working conditions through the years. Plus Pride in the Pits, a tribute to the men and women who worked in the North Staffordshire coalfield.

The Library is also pleased to welcome Mark Metcalf from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign to talk onWednesday 14 May at 2pm about the Campaign’s determination to seek truth and justice for the miners victimised by the police at the Orgreave Coking Plant, South Yorkshire, during that key event in the strike in June 1984.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Chorley remembers the dead and fights for the living



Photograph is copyright Mark Harvey 
On Friday 25 April, around 50 people assembled at the Memorial Tree at Astley Park, Chorley to Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living. This is the ninth year that Chorley has hosted a Workers Memorial Day event, with this year’s theme being ‘stronger unions save lives.’ It was a point pressed home by local hospital worker Heath Watkinson, who became a Unite safety rep after he and fellow workers suffered a series of needle stick injuries, the all clear for which takes nine months.  “By getting ourselves organised and asserting our rights we have made Chorley hospital a much safer, pleasanter place to work with far fewer injuries,” said Heath.

2.3 million people a year are killed by work worldwide. This figure is greater than the numbers killed by war. The loss of life at the Bhopal tragedy 30 years ago and amongst building workers constructing the stadiums that will host the World Cup in Brazil this summer were commemorated amongst a crowd that included the wife and family of Edward Draper. A dangerous driver who later served a small prison sentence tragically killed the motorway maintenance worker eleven years ago.

In 2012-13, over 1,400 workers were killed in the UK. Another 50,000 workers died of work related cancer, heart and lung disease. Over 100,000 are injured and millions more suffer ill-health each year. The human tragedy is bad enough but the financial implications are also immense with the health and safety executive (HSE) calculating that workplace injuries and ill health cost Britain £13.8 billion in 2010/11. (The most recent period for which full data are available)

Copyright - Mark Harvey
Such statistics clearly demonstrate how sensible it would be to improve workplace health and safety. However, as Hilda Palmer, who works at the Manchester Hazards Centre, explained in a wide-ranging speech, “this is a government driven by free market dogma. It does not believe in evidence or facts. Last year, Cameron Minshull, an apprentice aged sixteen, died after he was trapped in a metal lathe. When the HSE attended the scene they issued prohibition notices as the guards on the lathes had either been removed or disabled.

“That didn’t prevent David Cameron reducing safety precautions for apprentices or slashing the number of HSE inspectors. The Prime Minister claims to be cutting red tape but having strong rules and regulations, overseen by a unionised workforce, is preferable to the alternative which is bandages.”

Local Labour MP, Lindsay Hoyle, paid tribute to the organisers of the event and said: “the greatest tribute we can make to those who have died because of work is to reduce the numbers who do so in the future.”

The event was concluded with final words from the Reverend Tim Wilby, the laying of wreaths and a piper playing ‘Gresford’, the Miners’ Hymn.


Copyright Mark Harvey


 Workers Memorial Day 28 April 2014


“We Remember the Dead: 

All those many hundreds across the North West who have died due to exposure to asbestos. 

To read all of their names would take more time than we have here today,

but we remember each,  and every one of them, and we commit ourselves to   Fight for the Living"
pastedGraphic.png Workers Memorial Day 28 April 2014



"We Remember the Dead:

All those many thousands killed by all work-related illnesses such as heart disease, lung diseases, and cancers, across the North West.

All those hundreds of workers killed in work-related incidents across the North West. 

We do not know the names of most of these workers but we will read out 

the names of those whose deaths have been reported to the Health and 

Safety Executive, between April 2010 and April 2014, as we remember them all:

"Remember the Dead: 



We remember all those Workers in services and water and waste management who have died since 2010:

  • David Astley
  • Tony Schulze
  • Zbigniew Galka
  • Amin Qabil
  • Steven Garrret
  •  
  • Niall Page
  •  
  • Dorothy Ann Harkes
  • Grant Kinnie
  • Susan Brooks
  • Daniel Lobb
  •  
  • Christopher Morris
  •  
  • Mahesh Wickramasingha
  • Ricky Guest-Binns
  • Bryan John Pownall
  • Ernest Haughton








  • Craig Gray
  • Malcolm Harrison
  • Philip Davies
  • Carl Morris
  •  
  • John Bassett
  • Russell Joslin
  • Mike Proctor
  • Fiona Bone
  • Nicola Hughes
  • Darren Morley
  • Paul Williamson
  • George Howley
  •  
  • Stephen Hunt


We remember all those workers in manufacturing who have died since 2010:

  • Stanley Ian Heard
  •  
  • James Bibby
  • Thomas Elmer
  • Graham Begley
  •  
  • Robert Dunroe
  •  
  • Alan Catterall
  • Chris Cowan
  • Liam O’Neill
  • Leslie Brown
  • Martin McGlasson
  • Jason Pennington
  • Michael Wickstead
  • Mohammed Shakeel Abu
  •  
  • Andrew Bowes
  •  
  • Cameron Minshull
Christopher Wiliams
  • George Falder
  •  
  • Richard Ferris
  • Bruce Dempsey
  • Nathan Brown
  • John Flowers
  •  
  • Gray Jackson
  •  
  • Michael Moran
  • Ian Aliski
  •  
  • Shaun Dodgson



We remember all those construction workers who have died across the North West since April 2010 

  Peter Cochrane
   
  James Dennis Kay
   
Lee Bourn
   
  Matthew Nixon
   
  Andrew Dytiche
   
  James Sim
   
  Edwards Fitzgerald
   
  Anthony Causbsy
   
  Carl Green
   
  Grzegorz Sobko
   
  Gary Mellor
   
  Lindsay Richard Easton
   
  Michael Sweet
   
  Graham Readfern
   
  Justin Feber
  •  









  • Ivars Bahmanis
  •  
  • Alan Smith
  •  
  • Neville Heard
  •  
  • Geoffrey Davis
  •  
  • Adrian Smith
  •  
  • Henry Jones
  •  
  • Scott Harrower
  •  
  • Maxwell Lewis Grey

We Remember all those agricultural and fishing workers who have died across the North West Since April 2010

  •  
  • Sean Bennet
  •  
  • Thomas Postlethwaite
  •  
  • Peter Coutts
  •  
  • Colin Ellwood
  •  
  • William Wilson Boow
  •  
  • Andrew Davis
  •  
  • Wilfred Bennion
  •  
  • Mark Coates
  •  
  • Stephen Rimmer
  •  
  • Tony Hayton
  • Peter Hilton
  • Thomas Martin Sanderson




And we commit ourselves to Fight for the Living 


A 1910 poster - trade union organisation, improved technology
and better safety laws have cut the carnage in the last hundred years 
but much more still needs to be achieved. 











Thursday, 24 April 2014

Join the Kinder Scout trespass celebrations this Saturday in Sheffield

Today is the eighty-second anniversary of the Kinder Scout Trespass in which trade unionists such as Bernard [Benny] Rothman were highly prominent.
Thanks to Mark Harvey for this photograph

Born on 1 June 1911 it wasn’t until Benny acquired a bike in his teens that he discovered life outside the crowded, squalid environment of working class Cheetham in north Manchester. He soon became a keen rambler and spent his 16th birthday climbing to the summit of Snowdon.

Following the end of World War I in 1918 returning British soldiers had been promised by Prime Minister Lloyd George a “Land Fit for Heroes.” Landowners, represented in Parliament and the House of Lords by the Tories, were intent on ensuring that didn’t include the right for those soldiers and others to roam Britain’s mountains and moorlands.

So it was that on a sunny Sunday 24 April 1932 Benny Rothman, a lifelong activist within the Amalgamated
Copyright Mark Harvey 
Engineering Union (AEU), found himself as the leader of more than 400 Kinder Scout Mass Trespassers.

Together in opposition to a line of gamekeepers, they successfully crossed the Derbyshire Peak District’s ‘forbidden mountain.’ Stung by this deliberate defiance of the law the police arrested five of the trespassers. If however the authorities felt this would be the end of the matter they miscalculated by sending four to prison for up to six months. The public outrage that followed helped bring the issue of countryside access to the fore.

Benny Rothman, who in 1990 he was given the AEU’s highest award, the Special Award of Merit, died aged 90 in 2002. This was fifty-one years after the Peak District became the first designated National Park under the 1949 National Parks and Access to Countryside Act. An Act that Lewis Silkin, the Labour Party Minister of Town and Country Planning said at the time was “a people’s charter for the open air, for the hikers and the ramblers, for everyone who loves to get out into the open air and enjoy the countryside. Without it they are fettered, deprived of their powers of access and facilities needed to make holidays enjoyable. With it the countryside is theirs to preserve, to cherish, to enjoy and to make their own.”

This Saturday in Sheffield at the Town Hall there will be held a Spirit of St Kinder Day, which will celebrate Sheffield’s vital role in the Mass Trespass. The event starts at 2.30pm. 





Scientists challenged over health claims against weedkiller

From the current edition of the Big Issue in the North magazine. Please buy a copy when you see a seller. 
An agricultural scientist has challenged research claiming a chemical widely used in weed killers is making people seriously ill.
Glyphosate weed killers are sprayed by farmers, local government and gardeners, and also on some imported GM crops used as animal feed. Monsanto is the biggest producer of glyphosate, selling it under the brand name Roundup.
Glyphosate has been approved for use as a herbicide in the Europe Union (EU) since 2002. The approval expires next year but the EU is conducting tests to see if it can be extended.
Health hazards
A group of German scientists have independently studied glyphosate residues in humans.
They found levels were significantly lower in those who ate an organic diet compared with those who ate a largely conventional diet.
They also discovered that chronically ill people had significantly higher glyphosate residues in their urine. The study also found that glyphosate levels in the urine of dairy cows raised in GM-free areas were significantly lower than amongst those fed conventionally.
The scientists fear glyphosate residues have massive potential health hazards for both humans and animals.
They want to see greater studies and believe “the global regulations for the use of glyphosate may have to be re- evaluated”.
But Charlie Clutterbuck, an agricultural scientist from Ribble Valley, disputed the German scientists’ conclusions.
He said: “Although it is not surprising that more glyphosate residues are found in humans and animals who are eating plants given glyphosate, that does not mean higher concentration levels are associated with chronic illness.
‘Heavily regulated’
“This is not a causal relationship but a casual relationship in the same way that there is an increase in obesity levels corresponding to increased mobile phone use but the two are not causally related.”
James Mills, the National Farmers Union combinable crops adviser, added: “We are confident that the rigorous testing procedures adopted by the EU for all chemical products ensures they are not damaging to humans, animals, agriculture or the environment.
“The use of glyphosate on farms is heavily regulated and the industry also takes responsibility itself under the 2001 voluntary initiative designed to minimise the environmental aspects of pesticides.
“Whilst we should always be interested in new research this one report should not lead to more testing within a registration process that is currently working well.”


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Doctors badly treated in counter-terrorism fight

Taken from current edition of the Big Issue in the North magazine, please buy a copy when you see a seller. 
Government plans to force GP practices to appoint someone responsible for counter-terrorism in order to receive extra funding have been condemned by doctors as bureaucratic and a threat to their ethical responsibilities.
Three years ago, the Home Office asked doctors and other health professionals to identify patients viewed as “vulnerable to radicalism” as part of counter-terrorism strategy Prevent.
NHE England has now told clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that GPs seeking extra funding to provide enhanced services – such as extended hours, violent patient schemes and support for people with dementia – must also name a member of staff to take a lead on Prevent.
According to an NHS England spokesperson: “Prevent seeks to respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism to prevent individuals being drawn into terrorism by ensuring they get appropriate advice... The health sector needs to respond to these risks and enable healthcare workers to identify and provide support for those vulnerable to radicalisation.
‘Wastes time’
“Given the importance of the agenda and the role that healthcare staff have to play in protecting vulnerable people, Prevent is now part of the standard NHS contract.”
But one GP, who wished to remain anonymous, questioned whether the requirement was a late April Fools’ joke.
“This just wastes time,” she said. “Primary care faces an escalating workload, demoralised doctors, nurses and support staff and a constantly shifting set of performance targets, some of which seemto have little bearing on direct patient care. So this does not surprise me.
“How we are supposed to act if we feel a patient is ‘at risk’ is unclear and there are questions about how objective assessments by clinicians can be. After all, there will be no physical signs and there are real risks that hamfisted allegations are made by inexperienced clinicians focusing on certain ethnic minorities.”
The GP’s comments were endorsed by the British Medical Association, which represents over 150,000 doctors. Its spokesperson said: “GPs’ primary job is to ensure patients get the best possible care and not to undertake roles they are unqualified for and which could interfere with their ethical responsibilities. We also do not need another cumbersome, bureaucratic requirement when there is rising patient demand and falling resources.”
Surveillance

The Prevent programme was established after the 2005 London bombings as part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy to prevent Muslim radicalisation. Organisations such as the Institute of Race Relations believe the programme has been used to establish an elaborate system of surveillance.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Review of Liberty's Dawn by Emma Griffin

LIBERTY’S DAWN 
A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution
Emma Griffin

Published by Yale University Press 

By digging into 350 published and unpublished autobiographies of working people who experienced the Industrial Revolution then Emma Griffin has produced a very interesting, highly readable book. However, to state this makes her work “an alternative account of labour and the historical revolution” is a grandiose claim that the author fails to substantiate.

According to Griffin, far too little attention has been given to the benefits working class people, especially adult males, derived from the Industrial Revolution.

Griffin thus challenges accounts that include Friederich Engels 1845 book: The conditions of the Working Class in England as well as the many, often highly statistical, reports from the nineteenth century not forgetting books written many years later, the most famous of which is EP Thompson’s 1963 classic The Making of the English Working Class.

Before the Industrial Revolution people earned their living largely from their own labours. Radical changes meant that by utilising coal to power increasingly sophisticated machines a whole range of new products could be manufactured and brought to market and sold. The profits generated helped fuel further expansion. The subsequent increasing demand for additional labour resulted in an exodus from country to town, a process often accompanied by the expropriation of  common land and the forced eviction of the rural poor from their humble lodgings.

Amongst those who experienced the Industrial Revolution are a number who wrote their autobiographies. Griffin consulted over 350 of these unique records that are stored in local County Record Offices across England. These are highly fascinating but for Griffin to argue that they are “the only way to examine the working lives of working people during a critical epoch in world history” cannot be justified. 

It could (wrongly, in the opinion of the author of this article) be suggested that Engels, a communist, and Thompson, a radical socialist, had ulterior political motives in writing negative accounts of the Industrial Revolution. The problem for Griffin is that their views were supported by numerous accounts – such as the Factories Inquiry Commission Report (1833) – from the period that were written by those that passionately supported the new developments that helped turn Britain into the Workshop of the World. 

By far the vast majority of the autobiographies are written by men and when they are compared to those written by women it is clear, according to Griffin, that: “the patches of sunlight certainly shone more brightly on men rather than their wives and children.” In particular, the latter, are not well served by the Industrial Revolution. 

Men are better rewarded than women and they also earn – often considerably – more than their rural counterparts. Writers coming towards the end of their lives were often at pains to stress how much better their own had been compared to their parents and grandparents.

Improvements in income meant workers enjoyed a greater degree of independence from their employers. In turn this led to the development of a wide range of clubs and societies that gave working class males a part and a say in their organising. The new skills that were acquired from such activities helped fuel the development of the Chartist movement. This was the first truly working class political movement ever seen. When it threatened to turn the Industrial Revolution into one in which all of mankind benefited it was ultimately ruthlessly suppressed by a combination of capitalist and aristocratic forces. 


Griffin fails to explain why it was that if so many people were having their lives improved by the Industrial Revolution that there was the development of Chartism. This would require a much longer book in which Griffin would need to challenge the likes of Engels and Thompson in a much more rigorous fashion in order to try and prove the Industrial Revolution really was ‘Liberty’s Dawn.’

Support Palestinian farming unions

 
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) organised a successful Sainsbury’s Day of Action on 1 March. PSC want the giant supermarket chain to follow the Co-ops lead in not engaging with any produce supplier from Israeli settlements that are built on stolen Palestinian land and are illegal under international law. Palestinian farming unions have called for campaigns against Israeli export companies.
 
Sainsbury’s sources fruits, mangoes, date and other fresh produce from companies such as Mehadrin and Edom.  Protests were held at Sainsbury’s stores in more than 30 UK towns and cities and over 2,500 people wrote to the Sainsbury’s Chief Executive who has since replied defending the company’s actions. www.palestinecampaign.org for more information.

Clegg shakes hands with the bloodstained hands of Colombian President

Columbia. remains the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist. Last year 78 human rights defenders were killed; mainly by paramilitaries and state security forces. 
Each day the human rights situation is worsening for social and political activists and on 22 February, the peasant farmer activist Jorge Eliecer Hernandez Blanco was shot dead by the Colombian Army. Peasant farmers are often killed for their land, which is then sold off by the Government to multinational companies.
None of which prevented a smiling Nick Clegg shaking the bloodstained hand of Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos when he led a delegation of over 40 British businesses to the country in February. The Liberal Democrat leader ignored appeals to visit members of civil society groups as he sought to increase trade with a regime in which 40% of MPs have direct or indirect support from illegal armed groups who are killing trade unionists and political activists.
Despite the slaughter the Colombian people are fighting back. There was a remarkable uprising last summer in which hundreds of thousands of small and medium scale farmers, miners, students, lorry drivers, teachers and health workers bravely organised a 3 week national strike that included road blocks, mass marches and noisy protests. Agricultural workers on strike were angered by free trade agreements with the US and European Union that flooded the market with cheaper, heavily subsidised, agricultural products.
The army and police killed 12 individuals before the protests ended when the government promised better prices for agricultural products and greater access to loans. With the government having not kept their commitments a conference on the problems in the Columbian countryside was held in Bogota in March and preparations are being made for another strike in May. Keep up to date with developments in Columbia at:www.justiceforcolombia.org

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tom Mann - a great trade unionist

Tom Mann, 1856-1941 

Tom Mann, who was one of the three main union leaders of the 1889 London Dock Strike, is one of Britain’s greatest trade unionists. 

After a year working as a miner, ten year-old Mann began a seven-year engineering apprenticeship and after which he moved from Coventry to London to find work. He joined the Amalgamated Society of Engineers and published his pamphlet on the eight-hour day. In 1887 Mann moved to Newcastle where as the Social Democratic Foundation’s organiser he helped form the North of England Socialist Federation. Having read the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Mann became a communist who aimed to overthrow the capitalist system.

Back in London, Mann helped Ben Tillett, John Burns and Cardinal Manning to organise dockers when they struck in 1889 for 6d (2.5p) an hour and a minimum of four continuous hours of work. With the employers aiming to starve the 10,000 plus men out on strike the arrival of £30,000 from trade unions in Australia helped maintain the struggle and after five weeks the employers conceded defeat by granting all the dockers’ main demands. 

Mann became President for the new General Labourers’ Union but in 1897 he helped form the Workers Union, which after a slow start blossomed in the decade prior to World War One. The WU eventually merged with the Transport and General Workers Union in 1929.

In December 1901, Mann emigrated to Australia and where he was active in trade unionism and politics and suffered imprisonment for sedition. On his return to England in 1910, Tillett as an organiser for the Dockers Union employed Mann. He played a crucial role in the successful 1911 transport workers strike in Liverpool and was also heavily involved in the unsuccessful Dublin ‘right to unionise’ strike of 1914. 

Mann, a religious person throughout his life, was strongly opposed to workers slaughtering each other during the First World War. He was a firm supporter of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 when for a brief period the working class took control of its own destiny. He retired from full-time employment in 1921, but remained actively involved for many years afterwards and he was sent to prison in 1932 after he criticised cuts in poor relief during a speech he made in Belfast. 

When it was decided in 1936 to develop a volunteer international legion to fight on the side of the Spanish Republican government the Tom Mann Centuria became one of the first International Brigades formed. 



Tom Mann died in Leeds on 13 March 1941. He is buried in Lawnswood Cemetery in Leeds, where Leeds Trades Council has placed a plaque in his honour.

Many thanks to Alan Mann (no relation), the secretary of Friends of Lawnswood Cemetery, for this photograph of the Tom Mann plaque.