Truth remains unheard on unjust imprisonment of Cammell Laird strikers

This week in the European Parliament, the Cammell Laird strikers presented a petition to the Petitions Committees (PETI) highlighting the historic miscarriage of justice they suffered at the hands of the British government in 1984.

The Cammell Laird workers occupied two vessels at the Cammell Laird Shipyard as part of an official strike action. Following this, the strikers were dismissed, jailed for 30 days and had their redundancy and pension rights stopped.

Ever since, they have led a campaign to receive official documentation relating to these decisions. This unjust treatment of the Cammell Laird strikers represents a longstanding miscarriage of justice.

Having exhausted all domestic channels to gain this information, the Cammell Laird strikers turned to the European Parliament as a means to get closure.

Any citizen of the EU, or resident in a Member State, may submit a petition to the European Parliament on a subject which comes within the EU’s fields of activity and which affects them directly. Such petitions are heard by the PETI committee of the European Parliament and give the Parliament the opportunity of calling attention to any infringement of a European citizen’s rights by a Member State or local authorities or other institution.

Eddie Marnell, one of the strikers, presented their case to PETI on Monday. He called for more information to be released about the unjust treatment of the 37 strikers.

This case represents one of the fundamental freedoms we enjoy as British citizens and is as relevant now as it was in 1984. The freedom to associate and organise within a trade union should never be seen as a criminal activity.

The main question which needs to be answered is why the UK government has not released any documents or information to the strikers despite numerous requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Following the hearing, the PETI Committee condemned the UK’s action and is writing to the government urging them to formally apologise to the workers.

This month is the 30-year anniversary of the Cammell Laird strike. We need to make sure that we are doing as much as we can to get the information about what actually happened in 1984 and since. These strikers took lawful action, but suffered a terrible miscarriage of justice; I am convinced that European law was contravened.

British Labour MEPs, together with Eddie and the GMB, will continue to fight to make sure we get justice for all the Cammell Laird strikers and their families.