Anti-blacklisting campaigner remembered

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Michael Abbott memorial plaque (c) John Elsworth

Michael Abbott memorial plaque (c) John Elsworth

A plaque commemorating the late Michael Abbott has been unveiled at The Casa on Liverpool’s Hope Street.

The anti-blacklisting campaigner, who died, aged 74, last year after a battle with cancer, discovered files that showed he was blacklisted due to his trade union activities and his raising of concerns towards health and safety on construction sites. The plaque marks the first anniversary of his death.

Abbott discovered that the first file against him dated back to 1964 when he was working on the construction of the Fiddlers’ Ferry.

Upon this discovery, he fought for the rights of other men that had also been blacklisted from working on building sites.

Researcher and Secretary of the Shrewsbury 24 campaign, Eileen Turnball, told JMU Journalism: “We meet in The Casa every month at The Casa to discuss blacklisting in Liverpool. Michael Abbott left us in 2014, but the blacklisting in Liverpool has always been prevalent, but it mushroomed after the 1972 building workers strike.”

The 1972 building workers strike was one of many industrial disputes and involved miners, steelworkers, car workers and dockers. These strikes demonstrated a collective power amongst trade union members.

Some 15,000 trade unionists were involved in the first strike in February 1972, where coal miners and local engineering workers had the gates of the Saltley coke depot in Birmingham closed in order to strike.

Turnball said there are a number of valuable sources available to the public in order for them to find out more about the blacklisting movement.

He added: “There’s a brilliant pamphlet called ‘Boys on the Blacklist’ by David Patterson and Brian Bramford that I would recommend to read for anyone who would like to learn more about blacklisting in Liverpool.”

About John Elsworth, JMU Journalism