25 years on from the Wapping strikes
With a heightened interest in Rupert Murdoch and his empire, it’s handy the TUC are currently hosting a new exhibition: ‘News International Wapping – 25 Years on’ – The strike that made the modern media.
The Wapping dispute marked the beginning of the end of Fleet Street, it was a turning point for the British press and for the already controversial Rupert Murdoch.
Murdoch had been making crippling demands on his papers’ print workers, including the right for management to change T&Cs whenever and however they wanted, the end of closed shops, and a ban on all industrial action. A strike began on 24th January 1986, and Murdoch switched production to a new facility in Wapping, undermining the unionised workers.
The exhibition takes you through it all, offering historical context to the current turbulent fortunes of Murdoch’s media empire. The origins of Fleet Street and Murdoch’s rise, through the start of the strike, the boycotts and the police riots, on to where the unions are today. It finishes with the question; is Murdoch really unstoppable?
The exhibition is produced by the Marx Memorial Library. It’s free to view and can been seen in the foyer of Congress House (Great Russell Street, London) until August 12th.