Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jayaben Desai Exhibition letter published in Asian Voice

Tuesday 10th January 2017 18:10 EST
I remember the Grunwick strike, lead by Jayaben Desai from 1976 to 1978. A Indian Gujarati sari clad woman lead 84 employees at Grunwicks in London against harsh and racist working conditions at the plant.
Her famous phrase was "What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr. Manager."
Her efforts lead to the mobilization of some 20000 strikers to join her at the picket lines outside Grunwicks. The then Labour government of Callaghan had a poor record in dealing with strikers, this one hogged the headlines, nationally for months.
Mrs Desai's actions in 1978 were a decisive factor that lead to the arrival of another powerful fearless woman taking over the running of the country, she was of course Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
History has yet to recognise Mrs Desai's role in helping change the course of British history and politics forever.
Jayesh A Patel

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