Magnetic Women

On Saturday 27 June, over 100 people came to "An Audience with Magnetic Women" to hear from the wives, partners and daughters of the 350 sacked factory workers from the Darlington Magnet factory. The workers had gone on strike rather than take a pay cut of up to 54 per week. The event, organised by the Wages for Housework Campaign, aimed to attract people bored or turned off by political meetings. It enabled the audience to put questions to the Magnet Women's Support Group. One of the things that emerged was the women were so successful at defending the strike, that the men were entirely supportive of their wives' activities, in spite of the fact that the women dealt with their new shortage of time by doing much less housework.

The women spoke about how they got together, how they planned and organised the different actions, survived on little money and dealt with attacks on their children. They successfully forced down Magnet sales and shares, and still continue to work for justice after an unjust settlement made between Magnet and the unions - most strikers weren't able to vote and got a miserable 250 severance pay after 20 months on strike.

The event was also a coming together of women in a number of struggles. A mother from the Hillsborough Survivors, Relatives and Supporters for Justice group read a statement about how they are pressing for a public inquiry in to the police actions when 96 people died at the stadium nine years ago. And one of the Tameside Carers, who were sacked because they also refused to take a pay cut, spoke from the floor about the progress of their strike.

It wasn't all talk - the Magnet showroom in South Manchester was picketed before the meeting and (as shown on the cover of the newsletter) a huge banner reading "Magnet Women's Group says Boycott Magnet Kitchens" was erected in front of the Manchester Cheetham Hill showroom.

Patricia Juno, Wages for Housework Campaign (0161 344 0758)