The TUC is delighted to announce a new venue for the Women Chainmakers’ festival for 2011. The new venue, Bearmore Mound, is in the heart of the Cradley Heath community where the Chainmakers worked and lived – and fought their successful ten week dispute to secure a minimum wage for their sector.
Festival organiser Alan Weaver said:
Bringing the Chainmakers’ festival back to the heart of the community where the women fought for their rights is a great achievement and we are indebted to Sandwell Council for their support in helping us do so.
Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Darren Cooper said:
Mary Macarthur is one of the giants of Sandwell’s past.
Her role as leader of the Cradley Heath chainmakers’ strike last century has rightly earned her a place in the history of the borough and trade unionism.
The festival celebrates the achievements of 800 or so women Chainmakers who fought to establish a minimum wage for their labour. The local employers sought to deny them their rights but were met with forceful opposition, led by Mary Macarthur, who founded the National Federation of Women Workers and later stood for Parliament as a Labour candidate.
The seventh Women Chainmakers festival takes place at Bearmore Mound on Saturday 17th September. Further details will be announced in the run up to the festival.
This takes place during the Liberal Democrat conference which is being held in Birmingham across that weekend. There will be a demonstration on Sunday 18th September.
At this point in time, the trade union movement appears to be becoming a real force in the anti-cuts movement, from the huge demonstration on 26th March, large Mayday demonstrations around the country and of course the strikes on the 30th June, unionists have been pushing their unions to take action. It is likely that there will be further strikes in the autumn, and this remembrance of a very important victory and time in Trade Union history, followed by an overtly political action the following day could provide a useful spark to really ignite the fires of union action in the autumn to prevent cuts to pensions, jobs and pay.