Taking The Gloves Off!

Taking The Gloves Off was a Birmingham Trades Union Council event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Saltley Gate

Speakers at Taking the Gloves Off!

Gerry Kelly opening speech

Gerry Kelly part 2

Bob Light on the Dockers strike 1972

Mostafa Bassiouny on Egypt

Georgia Mylonaki

Birmingham Trades Union Council and Banner Theatre present >>

Taking the Gloves Off! “A festival of song, theatre and debate for a better world”

Friday 22nd – Saturday 23rd June 2012


Friday 22nd -  Banner Theatre presents The Battle of Saltley Gate


Dave Rogers and Fred Wisdom tell the story of Saltley Gate - a key battle in the 1972 miners’ strike - in song, music and cabaret.

Based on extensive interviews with miners, car workers and factory workers recorded by Banner in 1972 and in 2012, this multi-media production connects a key trade union battle to the major struggles of today.


7.30pm, Birmingham Trade Union Education Centre, Floodgate St, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5SU

Tickets £8 (or £4 conc) on the door

Banner Theatre 0121 551 7216 for advance booking


Saturday 23rd  - Taking the Gloves Off!

2012 is the 40th anniversary of the historic working class victory of Saltley Gate, closing the huge Saltley coke depot and helping win the 1972 strike for the miners .

At a time of unprecedented attacks on our living standards and welfare state, Taking the Gloves Off looks at key battles and victories of the past - not in nostalgia but seeking ideas for winning a better world for the future.

In 1972 the Tory government introduced the Industrial Relations Act aiming to make workers pay for the crisis of capitalism.

Resistance followed. The miners, with solidarity from 30,000 Birmingham engineers striking in support, broke the wage restraint and put the Tory government on the defensive. Now more than ever we need to learn lessons on how to win.

WORKSHOP >> Remembering where we’ve been...

What tactics and strategies were (and were not) successful in the heady days of 1970s trade unionism – Saltley Gate, the UCS occupation, the Pentonville Five, car workers, and the 1972 building workers strike?

What are the practical lessons for our class to take into today’s struggles such as the sparks dispute and defence of pensions? How can they be applied in today’s conditions?

WORKSHOP >> Civil disobedience today...

Even union general secretaries and MPs know that direct action works.

Solidarity and diversity of tactics get the goods, from the docks of Oakland to the students of Glasgow University’s victorious Hetherington occupation.


11am - 5pm, Unite HQ, 211 Broad Street, B15 1AY

£5/£3 conc or £10/£6 conc with Friday night FREE!



btucoffice@gmail.com // 0121 643 8668 // www.btuc.org



Friday night panel

Colin Fitzer In 1972 worked in the trim shop was branch secretary at Rover Solihull

Bob Whiskens In 1972 worked at Rover Tyseley at 21 one of youngest stewards in motor industry

George Gordon was a shop steward at BSA in 1972.

Norman Goodwin Was a shop steward from GKN Salisbury Transmissions a car component manufacturer. He led a contingent of workers to Saltley Gate.

Charlie McLaren Florence pit from 1954, in 1972 was a member of the branch committee.

Jim Dowling Electrician, Elected onto NUM power group branch committee at Hemheath colliery, was branch delegate.

Dave Douglass An NUM branch official at Hatfield Main Doncaster for 25 years a member of the yorkshire area executive vice chair south yorkshire NUM panel.


Saturday workshop speakers

Mostafa Bassiouny is a senior journalist on Al-Tahrir newspaper in Egypt. He is a well-known labour correspondent, and has covered developments in the Egyptian workers' movement since the beginning of the big strike wave in late 2006.

Georgia Mylonaki has been a journalist since 1999. She is on the strike committee of the Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia which has been on strike since December 2011.

The 1972 building workers strike used the tactic of flying pickets to close down key sites, in the case of Birmingham the Bryant sites and other city centre sites. Gerry Kelly was one of the groups of activists who initiated this.

Norman Goodwin Was a shop steward from GKN Salisbury Transmissions a car component manufacturer. He led a contingent of workers to Saltley Gate.

Bob Light was a shop steward in the Royal Docks during the dock strike in 1972.

Mhairi McAlpine is an activist based in Glasgow who was involved in the occupation of the Hetherinton last year, a feminist, socialist and internationalist.

UK Uncut is a non-hierarchical direct action network of people fighting against the cuts, targetting tax dodging corporations and individuals such as Vodafone and Phil Green.


pete jackson,
24 May 2012, 02:33