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Stock shots from the archive: Disputes

Phil Coomes | 08:25 UK time, Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Postal workers on strike

It's Tuesday, so it must be time to post another selection of photographs drawn from the BBC News stills archive.

Following the news last week that Royal Mail workers have voted three-to-one in favour of national strike action, I thought I'd dig through the archive pictures under the heading: Labour Disputes/Post Offices.

There are 86 colour slides held in the archives under this heading, but the most interesting are the pictures from the late 1960s and the early 70s.

The first picture on file is simply titled "Strikers and notices (1968)". There is no further information regarding location or the photographer, though the poster in the picture states "two-and-a-half years without a pay rise".

This was also the year that saw the introduction of a new two-tier postal system whereby the Post Office promised overnight delivery for letters with a fivepence stamp on, while fourpence bought you a slower service.

Postal workers in 1968

The next picture shown here was taken a year later and is catalogued as "General Post Office (GPO) girls marching, 30 January 1969". No further details are offered, but by October of that year, the Post Office Act signalled the end of the GPO and the office of Postmaster General, followed by the establishment of the Post Office as a publicly owned corporation.

GPO march

On 27 November 1970, workers gathered outside Waterloo Bridge House to protest at the sacking of Lord Hall who had been removed from his post by the Home Secretary Lord Windlesham.

Hansard records an exchange in the House of Commons in which Windlesham said:

"Having concluded that it is in the best interests of the Post Office and public, I have asked Lord Hall to relinquish his post as Chairman of the Corporation. He has agreed to do so."

An exchange of views continued, and you can read the transcript here.

Protest at the sacking of Lord Hall

On 20 January 1971, postal workers went on strike; a few days later on the 23rd, they held a rally in Hyde Park, London, and the scene was captured by a BBC photographer, who is only credited by his surname, Asher. The strike was to last until March when a deal was agreed.

Hyde park protest

The last picture I have pulled from the files this week is from the strike in 1971. There are no details about the picture, but it's such a great shot I just had to include it.

Closed post office

If you experienced any of these events, or recognize any one in the pictures, then please comment below.

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