This film is part of Free

May Day Protest March

They're striking for pay and the Labour moment or they're "bleeding idle". Mixed opinions as workers take to Birmingham's streets to mark May Day in 1973.

Non-Fiction 1973 3 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


As 20,000 workers march past the Bull Ring and Rotunda in Birmingham city centre reporter Ruth Elliott attempts to find out the level of support for a national strike walk-out and the mood on the street towards the Conservative government led by Edward Heath. A few months later Heath would resort to the infamous reduced working hours of the three day week as more drastic measures were sought to combat rising prices and inflation.

The TUC called the one day strike in a climate of low pay settlements as the government fought to control inflation. The Midlands was the strongest area nationally in the walk-out with the Department of Employment estimating that 403,000 workers had come out in support of the dispute.