Thursday, 10 November 2011

Murdoch, News International and the Wapping Dispute

At this 25th anniversary meeting Tony Burke documents the lengths to which Murdoch and News International have gone to extend their influence and brook no opposition, and examines why a new framework of employment law and trade union rights are essential to rebalance power in this country. The event will take place on the 6pm, Thursday 17 November at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School.

As the storm over phone hacking engulfs the News International empire, this meeting will examine the extent to which Rupert Murdoch’s ‘bad behaviour’ has a history dating back a quarter of a century - with the current web of deceit involving the political, media and police establishment having echoes of the 1986-7 Wapping dispute, one of the key industrial disputes of the Thatcher era, when Murdoch sacked thousands of its staff and moved its operations to East London.

As well as providing a first-hand account of how the workers struggled for 13 months to save their jobs and protect union rights, this meeting will also explore the first alliance of the company with the Metropolitan police and a Conservative government, on this occasion also aided and abetted by a ‘rogue’ trade union. As Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has commented: ‘Who says that history does not repeat itself? The phone hacking scandal unveils…the true scale and depth of New International’s malign and corrosive influence within the Establishment. The hacking scandal is the logical continuation of the machinations and mindset that created the anti-union Fortress Wapping in 1986’. 

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