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The Winter of DiscontentMyth, Memory, and History$
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Tara Martin López

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380291

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380291.001.0001

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The Floodgates Open: The Strike at Ford

The Floodgates Open: The Strike at Ford

(p.63) 3 The Floodgates Open: The Strike at Ford
The Winter of Discontent

Tara Martin López

Liverpool University Press

This chapter chart developments within Ford, laying specific emphasis on the shifts occurring amongst the rank and file, especially the gendered and racialized forces at play. In particular, the chapter focuses on the social, political, and cultural experiences of four Ford workers laying particular emphasis on the rise of grassroots trade union politics in the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU), the Equal Pay Strike of 1968, and the central role of black and Asian workers at Ford plants across the UK. The author asserts that Ford workers were motivated by a complex amalgam of political and social motivations rather than simply rash ‘bloody mindedness’ or crass greed, which is constantly purported in the myth of the Winter of Discontent. Instead, chapter reveals that a constellation of political identities that emerged in the Ford strike not only inspired their actions that winter, but also reflected broader social and political changes in Britain in the late 1960s on into the 1970s.

Keywords:   Ford workers, Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU), women workers, black workers, Asian workers, Equal Pay Strike of 1968, Winter of Discontent, political identities, myth

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