‘We Are the Lions Mr Manager’ Glasgow 27th March 2018

Greater Glasgow HOPE not Hate are pleased to announce that the new Townsend Production of ‘We are the Lions Mr Manager’ will take place on Tuesday 27th March 2018, 7.00pm at UNITE the Union offices, John Smith House, 145-165 West Regent Street, Glasgow, G2 4RZ.

Forty years ago a group of workers in a backstreet Willesden factory stood up to their unfair bosses and kick-started one of the longest and most important industrial disputes in British history. Led by Asian women, the Grunwick strike challenged stereotypes, changed the face of white, male trade unions, and inspired others to speak out against injustice. On the 20th August 1976, one of the hottest days of the year, a group of South Asian workers walked out of a factory in protest at their working conditions and the way they were treated. Little did they know that this act would lead to a two-year strike. Led by Jayaben Desai, the striking workers demanded their right to be treated with dignity and to be represented by a union.

“We Are The Lions, Mr. Manager” is the story of Jayaben Desai, whose family were among many that had moved to East Africa during British colonial rule, but then forced by the governments of Uganda and Tanzania to leave to begin a new life in the UK. They arrived at a time of mass unemployment and increasing racism and, despite being well educated and possessing a wealth of professional experience, they were not welcomed and were forced to accept low-paid factory or office work. Jayaben Desai is remembered as an inspirational figure for her leadership of the dispute, which was one of the largest mobilisations the UK had ever seen by trade unions, anti-racist campaigners, feminist groups and ordinary workers in support of ethnic minority women workers. The play tells the story of her fight for better pay and conditions and her demand to be treated with dignity in places of work. The play will focus on the challenge she and her co-activists made to trade unions to recognise the rights of minority and women workers; celebrate the solidarity and support from the labour movement for their dispute; examine the internal trade union tensions generated by the long dispute; and investigate how she contributed to changing the perception of South Asian women in wider society.

Tickets go on sale Monday 22nd January priced £5.00. Admission is by ticket only. Tickets are only available from Greater Glasgow HOPE not Hate. To order tickets please email glasgowhnh@gmail.com or telephone 07761803373 stating name, address, telephone number and number of tickets required (maximum of 5 tickets per order). Please note ticket’s are limited and early booking is advised.

This event is supported by various trade unions, The People’s Assembly Scotland and Glasgow Trades Union Council.