Open up the archives on Shrewsbury pickets

28 January 2013

The Shrewsbury 24 campaign led by actor Ricky Tomlinson is gathering momentum as new revelations about the blacklisting of workers surface.

The campaign, backed by PCS, is seeking justice for 24 trade unionists arrested and charged after the first national building workers' strike in 1972.

Tomlinson's petition calls on the government to disclose documents from the time – including cabinet minutes, discussion papers, civil service notes, reports and telephone records – that it is refusing to release, citing "national security".

The actor, best known for his role as Jim in the BBC sitcom The Royle Family, was among the pickets targeted in what the campaign says was a clear conspiracy involving the Conservative government of the day.

The issue has attracted renewed coverage recently as blacklisting has been in the news and debated by MPs, and in light of revelations over the extent of the conspiracy and cover-up over the Hillsborough disaster.

John McDonnell, who is also the chair of PCS's parliamentary group, is asking fellow MPs to sign an early day motion calling for the papers to be released.

The campaign is also asking the Criminal Cases Review Commission to use its powers to obtain government documents and apply for an appeal for the convictions to be quashed.

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