The plight of a family caught up in the maintenance strike, which brought Irish industry to a standstill in 1969.

Industry was brought to a standstill in 1969 by a strike of 3,000 maintenance workers. It was Ireland’s most expensive strike to date and resulted in the loss of a million man hours and around £7 million in export orders. The strikers placed pickets on companies that had maintenance departments and because many workers were reluctant to pass a picket, up to 30,000 non-maintenance staff found themselves caught up in the dispute.

The Whelan family in Dublin were affected when husband Jimmy was laid off from work because machines were not operational due to the strike. His wife Marie explains how they were left with no source of income except for food vouchers and money from her family. Jimmy is not entitled to strike pay, but was not given any social welfare either, even though he himself was not on strike and the family got notice to quit their flat.

After four and half weeks, the maintenance strike was settled with a generous pay increase for the workers.