March 10th, 2011
Tribute to Lee Jeans heroines
Duncan McNeil, MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, has paid tribute to the 240 women who took part in the Lee Jeans sit-in at the Scottish Parliament.
On the 30th anniversary, the MSP invited former trade union convener Helen Monaghan and ex-workers Margaret Wallace and Catherine Robertson to Edinburgh to hear a debate he had secured on the historic protest.
The women also met with Labour leader Iain Gray, deputy leader Johann Lamont and Port Glasgow MSP Trish Godman.
Mr McNeil said: “Although they didn’t realise it at the time, these women captured the imagination of a country that was being crushed by unemployment at the time.
“They became an inspiration to workers all over the world, not just for the principled stand they took but because they won that fight and kept their jobs.
“In these difficult times, with unemployment rising, they represent a timely reminder of what people can achieve if they stand together and recognise the importance of the right to work.”
S3M-07898# Duncan McNeil (Greenock and Inverclyde) (Scottish Labour): 30th Anniversary of the Lee Jeans Sit-in— That the Parliament remembers the 240 women who staged what it sees as a historic sit-in at the Lee Jeans factory in Greenock 30 years ago, beginning on 5 February 1981; notes that the workers barricaded themselves into the canteen for seven months in protest at the decision to close the factory; salutes the workers for capturing the imagination of the whole country and achieving a landmark victory against a US multinational; wishes the former convener, Helen Monaghan, and machinists, Margaret Wallace and Catherine Robertson, well for the 30th anniversary reunion event that they have organised, and considers the Lee Jeans sit-in to be an inspiration to women workers all over the world.
Link to debate -