The struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa reached the Dunnes Stores shop floor in 1984. Shop steward Karen Gearon passed a union instruction on to her colleagues not to handle South African goods. When 21-year-old Mary Manning refused to put some fruit through the till, she found herself suspended from work. Nine of her colleagues walked out in support of her, beginning a strike that would last for two years and nine months. The more the strikers learned about life in South Africa, the more determined they became not to give in.
This exhibition tells the story of the Dunnes Stores strike and how it changed the lives of those involved.
The accompanying photograph of strikers Michelle Gavin and Alma Russell was taken in 1984 outside Dunnes Stores in Henry St, Dublin. © RTÉ Archives 0714/073
Shop steward Karen Gearon on what life was like before the strike.
Maggie O’Kane reports on conditions under apartheid in South Africa and how Dunnes Stores workers ended up on strike in protest.
Casann Easpag Desmond Tutu le na stailceoirí.
Strikers reject Labour Court recommendation that they go back to work.
Strikers travel to South Africa only to be refused entry.
Mary Manning talks about where they’re at as the strike enters its second year.
Strikers consider returning to work following an announcement that supermarkets would seek alternatives to South African goods.
The strike escalates when Brendan Barron of the Crumlin branch joins.
Seamus Heaney and other poets protest at the hanging of Benjamin Moloise.
Irish government finds a way to ban South African goods.
Strikers report for work only to be presented with a new contract.
Karen Gearon wins her case for unfair dismissal against Dunnes Stores.
Nelson Mandela meets the strikers in Dublin.
Three strikers look back at how the strike affected their lives.
Ben Dunne apologises on radio to Mary Manning the day after a plaque was erected to her.
The strikers travel to South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral.