Striking women: struggles and strategies of South Asian women workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet

Anitha, Sundari and Pearson, Ruth (2018) Striking women: struggles and strategies of South Asian women workers from Grunwick to Gate Gourmet. Lawrence & Wishart, London. ISBN 9781912064854

Full content URL:

Full text not available from this repository.

Item Type:Book or Monograph
Item Status:Live Archive


This book is centred on two industrial disputes, the famous Grunwick strike (1976-78) and the Gate Gourmet dispute that erupted in 2005. The focus on these events helps us explore the nature of South Asian women’s contribution to the struggles for workers’ rights in the UK. We examine histories of migration and settlement of two different groups of women of South Asian origin, and how this history, their gendered, classed and racialised inclusion in the labour market, the context of industrial relations in the UK in the two periods and the nature of the trade union movement shaped the trajectories and the outcomes of the two disputes.
There have been other books about the Grunwick strike, though as yet little attention has been paid to the bitter dispute at Gate Gourmet. But this is the first account based on the voices of the women involved. Drawing on life/work history interviews with thirty-two women who participated in the two disputes, as well as interviews with trade union officials, archival material and employment tribunal proceedings we explore the motivations, experiences and implications of these events for strikers’ political and social identities.
The two disputes also serve as a prism for examining particular continuities and changes in the industrial relations, trade union practices and their scope for action. This work challenges stereotypes of South Asian women as passive and confined to the domestic sphere, whilst exploring the ways in which their employment experience interacted with their domestic roles. Paying close attention to the events and contexts of their workplace struggles enables us to understand the centrality of work to their identities, the complex relationships between these women and their trade unions and some of the challenges that confront trade unions in their efforts to address issues posed by gender and ethnicity. This is the workers’ story not just the unions’ story.

Keywords:Gender and work, migration, South Asian women, labur market experiences, feminist perspectives on work, Grunwick strike, Gate Gourmet dispute
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L200 Politics
L Social studies > L100 Economics
L Social studies > L330 Ethnic studies
L Social studies > L720 Human and Social Geography by topic
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:29070
Deposited On:25 Oct 2017 10:56

Repository Staff Only: item control page