LETTER: Press coverage in the dock

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The Independent Online
From Mr Alasdair Gray and


Sir: More than two months ago, the Port of Liverpool employers tried to make most of their dockers do more overtime work by dismissing the rest. If the dockers' union had called a strike, its funds would have been seized by the courts, so the dockers struck without union support. They are still on strike. The employers, helped by social welfare services, are trying to break that strike. Men on the unemployment register who refuse offers of dock work are threatened with loss of social security money - threatened with hunger and homelessness.

The rights and wrongs of this are not being debated in Britain because the press and broadcasting are ignoring it - the matter is under what journalists call "a media black". This suppression of news is not decreed by the sort of government that ruled the late Soviet Union and Third Reich: it is the result of a gentlemen's agreement. Who are the gentlemen? John Major, Tony Blair, the British Employers Federation are certainly among them, but there must be others. Can you open your pages to a discussion on the matter?

The undersigned are sending this letter to several British and foreign papers. We are interested to see who will print it.

Yours sincerely,

Alasdair Gray

James Kelman

Tom Leonard

Bernard MacLaverty


24 November