On 28 September 1995 the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company fired 329 port workers in Liverpool, England, for joining a picket line in solidarity with fellow port workers in Torside. The Torside workers were fired for protesting against the “free-market” style of labor, in which there was no job security, no wage security, and a constant change of working hours. In this format, workers could be phoned at any time and asked to come in to work.
On 6 April 2006, a group of people dressed as large chickens entered McDonald’s fast food restaurants in seven cities around the United Kingdom. These chickens were a part of Greenpeace’s campaign against McDonald’s use of soya, a soybean plant, to feed its chickens.
In November of 1960, the United States and British governments reached an agreement on the use of the Holy Loch in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland as an overseas base for the US Navy. The governments believed the U.S. military required an overseas nuclear base for refit and crew overturn for its new Polaris missile submarines, built to serve as a deterrent to Soviet military might.
Artificial baby milks—so called “infant formula”—became widespread commercial product during the early decades of the twentieth century. Among many companies involved, Nestlé’s was the biggest promoter, controlling more than 40% of the estimated $1.72 billion market. Nestle aggressively pursued the interest from infant formula with indiscriminate marketing. The marketing that evoked popular indictment was their promotion of infant formula in the Third World.
By 1986, Australian Rupert Murdoch was already well on his way to becoming the head of what would be the world’s largest news conglomerate, News International. His meteoric rise to the top, however, clashed with a centuries-old printing tradition in the United Kingdom, where he owned four of the company’s largest papers. The Fleet Street area of London, England had served as the iconic home to the nation’s printmaking industry since as far back as the 15th century. As Murdoch saw it, however, this history represented a method of printmaking that had long since passed its peak.
Manchester workers campaign for economic equality and political representation (Peterloo Massacre), 1817-1820
The economic plight of the people of Manchester in the early eighteenth century was rooted in three major historical developments: the Industrial Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Corn Laws of 1804. The first solidified an enormous and conspicuous gap between rich and poor, leaving Manchester’s lower classes—mostly spinners and weavers of cotton—to grapple with unemployment, poverty, hunger, and heavy reliance on social welfare. It also contributed to an unprecedented boom in population (Manchester’s quintupled in four decades).
Kimberley-Clark Corporation is the largest tissue-product manufacturer in the world, producer of well-known brands including Kleenex, Scott, and Cottonelle. It is no surprise that Kimberly-Clark is also arguably the leading consumer of wood-fiber. However, before 2009, Kimberley-Clark continued to take 90% this wood-fiber from unsustainably managed forests, most notably the ancient Boreal Forest in Canada.
In 1998, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of the multinational beverage company, was granted a license to operate a bottling plant in Plachimada, a small village in the state of Kerala in southern India. Within two years of the plant's opening in 2000, indigenous people living near the plant, known as the Adivasi people, began protesting the bottling plant's presence in their community. The local population complained that Coca-Cola was lowering the water table and polluting surface and groundwater within the plant site and in the local community.
The Industrial Revolution brought prosperity to Britain’s upper classes and in the process created a new industrial working class. To this class belonged, in 1842, 350,000 textile workers, 120,000 coal miners, and 400,000 metal workers. Most of these laborers lived in the coal-rich counties of Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Staffordshire in western Britain. Far from sharing in the newfound industrial wealth of their employers, however, workers endured abysmal working conditions, unpredictable wages, and no job security. The constant advancement of technolo
The world voiced its opposition to the National Party’s apartheid government ruling in South Africa in a new way in 1964. International sports tours and matches had become a focal point of cultural identity for whites in South Africa. Victories, to them, demonstrated a kind of symbolic power of white South Africa. White elite South Africa was considered “sports mad.” Once this became apparent to other countries in objection to the political state of South Africa, they found a way to use the situation to send a message.
The general strike of 1926 in Britain was one of the largest strikes Britain has ever experienced and, simultaneously, perhaps the least successful. Previous strikes in the wake of World War I (such as 1919, 1920, and 1921) were precursors to the strike of 1926 and suggest the extreme volatility of the British economy in the post-World War I time period. Although this strike was a general strike comprised of almost every industry in Britain, the mineworkers’ standard of living was the sole concern of the strike.
In 1996, there were 204 reported attacks on prison staff in English prisons. Ten years later, the number of attacks soared to 1,050 attacks. After a 400% increase in attacks, prison officers were more than outraged with their apparently dangerous working conditions.
In 1976, Pete Roche and a few other activists founded the Scottish Campaign to Resist the Atomic Menace (SCRAM). Aimed at protesting the construction of the Torness nuclear power station in the South-East of Scotland, as well as opposing nuclear power in general, SCRAM organized some of the largest anti-nuclear power demonstrations in the UK in the 1970s and 80s. The organization was composed of eight full time volunteer workers, plus vacillating numbers of members. The decision-making process was mainly represented by consensus reached during public meetings.
Hunger strikes have a long history in Ireland dating back to the medieval periods when Cealachan, a method of gaining justice for some perceived offense through starvation, was codified in the civil code called the Senchus Mor. This starvation tactic, whereby the victim fasted on the doorstep of their wrongdoer, could be used to settle or recover a debt, or address an injustice – the threat lay in that if the complainant was allowed to die on the defendant’s doorstep, that person would be held responsible for the death and the victim’s family.
In May of 2010, the United Kingdom held its general elections. The Conservative Party formed the new government by making an alliance with a smaller party, the Liberal Democrats.
During the 1700’s, Great Britain was a strong colonial power with extensive land holdings in the West Indies, India, and Africa. A key aspect of this colonial empire was the shipment of slaves from Africa to the sugar plantations in the West Indies.