Islington Trades Union Council would like to pay tribute to legendary Pentonville docker Vic Turner.
Some background history to those momentous events in trade union history were outlined in the Star's excellent tributes by Roger Sutton and Graham Stevenson (M Star January 3).
The imprisonment of five leading dockers during an upsurge in rank-and-file activity that could have seen a general strike had they not been released from prison makes interesting reading.
And the similarities of the convictions of the Shrewsbury 24 a year later, and the current blacklisting of builders, particularly at Crossrail, are a reminder why we should celebrate the life of Vic Turner as an inspiration in working-class struggle, both past and present.
Vic was our special guest at the unveiling of our trades council banner five years ago, which has an image of the dockers' release with the caption "Arise ye workers." It was a huge honour to have such a hero of the trade union movement address the trades council.
Vic was also a guest speaker for a Justice for the Shrewsbury pickets campaign event a few years ago, where he talked about rank-and-file activity of the 1970s.
Great credit goes to the Cities of London and Westminster Trades Council for keeping the spirit of the dock strike and Pentonville Five alive by showing film footage and inviting speakers. Vic Turner himself spoke at a 40th anniversary event last July.
I recall another anniversary some years ago where Vic held his union card up high and said "this is what it is all about." It was no lecture to the converted. Vic spoke from the heart about solidarity, a sense of community, sticking together with dignity and pride.
Vic Turner - man of the people, among the people, with the people.
The inspiration he gave to many will inspire a new generation in the struggles ahead.