Commentary on Willesden Green news and events by Labour Councillor Lesley Jones
Remembering the Grunwick dispute
Sad to hear of the death of Mrs Jayaben Desai last month. Mrs Desai was instrumental in leading the dispute with the Grunwick company in Chapter Road, Willesden in 1976. The dispute centred on the predominately female factory employees protesting about working conditions and the refusal of bosses to recognise their APEX union status.
Mrs Desai was awarded a Citizenship Award from Brent Council several years ago. She has been described as a remarkable and courageous woman, intent on improving the lives of workers. A subsequent enquiry recommended Grunwick should recognise the union and protestors should be reinstated but they failed to do so. The former site of the Grunwick company is now being developed as flats. I made a request to Brent Building Control to name a walkway at the new development to mark the landmark strike by workers at the factory and its influence on industrial relations subsequently. The walkway is to be named “Grunwick Close” and I hope an opening ceremony can be arranged to celebrate the people involved.