Jonathan Moss
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The Trico-Folberth equal pay strike, Brentford, 1976
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The longest equal pay strike in British labour history took place at the Trico-Folberth windscreen wiper factory in Brentford, west London, during the summer of 1976. This chapter will be the first detailed consideration of this strike from a historical perspective. Having discussed the Equal Pay Act’s failure to achieve a meaningful reduction in the differential between male and female wages in Chapter 1, and considered the key role the Ford sewing machinists played in the origins of equal pay legislation in Chapter 2, this case study examines how the Equal Pay Act was interpreted and challenged by female workers once it was implemented in 1975. The chapter considers the Trico women’s experiences of work and trade unionism. It considers the women’s subjective motivations for going on strike, and examines the extent to which they associated the dispute with a shift in their expectations of paid work, and their political identity.

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