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Made in Dagenham

The film then charts the true story of the struggle of these working women. Initially their grievance was that their work was classed as unskilled as opposed to skilled. ‘You try putting these together to make a car seat cover’, fumes Rita, the shop steward (played by the excellent Sally Hawkins) as she furiously flings an assortment of fabric pieces at the sour-faced unyielding managers. But the struggle extends to a fight for equal pay for women, a fight which they won, eventually, for women everywhere.

Ann Benton

Sit down strike

MADE IN DAGENHAM Director: Nigel Cole Cert. 15

1968 and a sweltering Essex summer. In the machinists’ workshop at Ford’s in Dagenham (where the car seat covers for Cortinas are stitched) conditions are so hot that the women are working in their underwear. Cue soundtrack: ‘The Israelites’ by Desmond Dekker. The allusion is clear: this is slave labour.