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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 37, New Delhi, August 29, 2020

Video: The Rank and File | Ken Loach (1971)

Friday 28 August 2020


The Rank and File is a 1971 filmed television play written by Jim Allen and directed by Kenneth Loach. It was shown on 20 May 1971 on BBC 1 as part of the Play for Today series

The Wilkinson Glass factory in the midlands believe they are a caring employer - even providing a free bag of coal as a Christmas bonus - and have always had a good relationship with the local trade union. But their workers see things differently when faced by a management offensive and form a Rank and File Strike Committee. The committee expect harassment from management but surely their union leaders in London will stand by them. Won’t they?

Jim Allen’s script was inspired by the Pilkington Glass strike in St. Helens and closely follows the events of a strike that had taken place there in 1970. It was written at a time when the Labour government was proposing legislation to make unofficial strikes illegal and when trade union leaders were seen to be too close to the government.

Directed by Ken Loach

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