The Effects of 1976 Grunwick Strike on Equality Legislation and Trade Union Policies to Women and Black Workers

The 1976 Grunwick strike was a strike involving the workers of the Grunwick company in Willesden North London, a company that deals in photographic processing and finishing. George Ward, the founder of the company founded it in 1965. In its initial years, the firm operated on a postal basis, which involved the customers mailing of films that were undeveloped along with payment to the laboratory, and received the finished photographs through the same post.In 1976, an industrial dispute occurred involving the trade union recognition at Grunwick Film Processing Laboratories which led to a strike of two years between 1976 and 1978. A previous dispute had occurred in 1973 over union recognition at Grunwick where some workers who joined a workers Union had been terminated from work.The majority of workers at Grunwick were female and of Asian origin, who got a meager wage of £28 per week, compared to the average national wage which was £72 per week. It is evident that the working conditions at Grunwick were simply awful and more so indicative of gender and racial discrimination. Approximately 80% of the employees were of Asian origin, and, 10% were of Afro-Caribbean origin. There were claims of workers treated wretchedly by the management. treating them in an inhumane way and exploited, with working overtime with no additional pay.The dismissal of Devshi Bhudia, for working too slowly, sparked the strike in August 1976. Three other employers supported him by walking out. On the same day of dismissal of Bhudia, another employee got a dismissal in the evening, for merely putting on her coat while preparing to go back home. Her son in support of her walked out. The six then began to picket outside Grunwick. They signed up membership with the APEX, the pickets went back to Grunwick and 50 more workers walked out with demands to join the union. 25 other workers from Cobbold Road premises joined the strike.