Unemployment threatens to hit early-1980s levels: but how can the jobless stand up to the government? Terry Liddle reflects on his experience of the unemployed movement in those years
In the early 1980s there were 3 million unemployed and students were moving straight from graduation to the dole queue. No exception, I went to sign on at Spray Street dole office in Woolwich. Outside a group of people were leafleting. They were Greenwich Action Group On Unemployment (GAGOU). As the factories which lined the river from Erith to Deptford closed down, it was set up by the newly unemployed and a community worker from Greenwich Council, shades of things to come!
GAGOU spent a lot of time on individual cases of which there were many. In this we enlisted the help of sympathetic staff at the dole office. And in turn when they were in dispute our banner would appear on their picket line. But we did not make links with local union branches, many of which would not let the unemployed join, or with the Trades Council. Continue reading “giz a fightback: the ‘80s unemployed”