Free the Six

This film was made by Michael Rosen and Jeff Perks in 1974.

© Michael Rosen and Jeff Perks 2012.

Jeff Perks and Michael Rosen co-produced the film Free The Six in 1974. When we met Jeff at the 2016 Labour Party Conference, he told us how they both were film students in 1973-74. They supported the building workers’ strike and were horrified when six of them were imprisoned for alleged picketing offences. Even though they were students and just learning about filming techniques they were so committed to the struggle they decided to make a documentary film about the dangerous conditions that workers were subjected to in the building industry and the strike which was called to demand improvements.

This film is a masterpiece of contemporary labour history. It shows at first hand the lack of health and safety on building sites. It also shows building workers who took part in the strike giving an honest and clear accounts of how they organised flying pickets. The film’s attention to detail is an absolute credit to them.

The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign wish to thank them both for making such a wonderful and accurate film of what happened to the building workers and the Shrewsbury pickets when they had the courage to take strike action against the huge building trade companies, one of the most powerful and well organised industries in the UK. It was David against Goliath but with the tactic of the flying picket, they won the 12-week dispute; but the employers and the government made them pay a high price, they imprisoned six pickets, criminalised others, and blacklisted thousands more. This film will ensure these brave building workers will never be forgotten.