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Arise Ye Workers (1973)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Protesters at London's Docklands demonstrate against the Industrial Relations Act. A speaker declares the ports' shop stewards' support for any worker penalised under the Act or by the Industrial Relations Court.

A docker describes the extent of redundancies at his port and argues against the recruitment of non-unionised workers. Goods being unloaded and transported about the dock. Views of the new containers in which goods are shipped. A shop steward explains what impact the use of containers and the dock owners' attempted rationalisation will have on the safety and security of dockers' jobs.

A review of a naval parade. A speaker lists the interests and holdings of Lord Vestey, in order to criticise the economic power which these give him. A shop steward outlines the plan of action that the national committee of shop stewards drew up to combat the dock closures and redundancies.

The arrest and imprisonment of five shop stewards are described. A picket outside the Fleet Street offices of several newspapers calls for the print workers to stop production. A mass march and demonstration outside Pentonville prison in support of the jailed dockers. Speakers are heard. The release of the dockers and their addresses to the crowd.

Shop stewards explain why they felt the union leadership was afraid to take action and why they felt compelled to do so. Speakers criticise the voting regulations of the union, which give the same weight to smaller and larger ports alike. Scenes from work-ins and occupations at Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, Plessey's and Briant Colour.