The next Mary Quaile Club event will be a screening of the film “Business As Usual” on Saturday 8 April, 1pm to 4pm. This will take place at our favourite Manchester venue, Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester M1 1JG.
“Business as Usual” is based in real events which took place in Liverpool in 1983. Audrey White, manager of a branch of the clothes shop Lady at Lord John, was sacked by telephone after she challenged a male manager who had been sexually harassing female staff. Audrey was a member of TGWU who advised her to go to back to the shop as she had not been formally notified of her dismissal. She had to leave the shop after the police were called. The company refused to recognise or negotiate with TGWU, so Audrey and members of TGWU and others started picketing the shop 6 days a week all day without fail, asking people not to go in.
The company responded with a High Court injunction against Audrey and three others to stop the picketing , while the police attacked the picket line arresting 8 pickets, including a female school student who was strip-searched by the police at the police station. The pickets were charged with obstruction – but acquitted in court.
Under pressure the company offered Audrey an alternative job in another branch, but she refused so eventually the company caved in and Audrey was reinstated and even paid for the weeks she had lost. However it was not all plain sailing when she went back and she left after 18 months.
In 1987 a film version of the dispute was made, directed by Lezli-Ann Barrett, with Glenda Jackson playing Audrey, John Thaw playing her husband and Cathy Tyson playing Josie.
We are delighted that Audrey will be joining us for this screening to talk about the dispute, and also the differences between the film and what actually happened.
We are also very pleased to weclome Sophie Shaw from the Hotel Workers branch of UNITE, who will discuss the issue of sexual harrassment in 2017.
This event is free, a collection will taken at the end to defray expenses. We expect a lot of interest in this event. so advance booking is strongly recommended. Please email ; mary email@example.com.
This is an article by Bernadette Hyland, published in the Morning Star on 8 March , in which she interviews Audrey and Sophie.