Born to Irish parents in Brent, Jack Dromey was instrumental in supporting the groundbreaking Grunwick strikes in Dollis Hill and now serves as Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Erdington.
“My Dad came from county Cork to dig roads. My Mother came from county Tipperary to train as a nurse in a London hospital. They met, ironically, in the Galtymore Dance Halls just up in Cricklewood Broadway where tens of thousands of Irish marriages were formed and I was born in Kilburn in the days it used to be called County Kilburn.”
In this Locked In episode, Jack speaks to Blueprint Collective member Macsen Brown about being on the picket lines alongside the inspirational Jayaben Desai- leader of the Grunwick factory protests. The strike became a movement and remains a defining moment for class solidarity, feminism, union representation, antiracism and social justice.
“He said ‘You’re like animals in a zoo’. And that wonderful line by Jayaben, when she said, ‘Mr Manager, Mr Manager in a zoo there are many animals. There are different animals. There are lions.’ She said, ‘who will bite your head off and we are those lions.’ And out they walked, onto Chapter Road, no idea what to do next. They’d just had enough.”