Stephen Kelly remembers the 1979 strike

Yes, the strike was about pay. It was the summer of 1979. It was a strike that lasted for nine weeks. I remember being told about the strike, we were actually having a big lunch somewhere, I think with the Reports Politics team. I remember Gordon was there, and Jeremy Fox came in. Jeremy Fox was the son of Paul Fox, the head of Yorkshire Television. And Jeremy came in and said, “We’re being locked out, lads! Better go back and get all your things. Just spoken to my dad and it’s going to last for nine weeks.” And we all went, “Ha-ha!” And he was right – it did last for exactly nine weeks. So the strike was about money. When we came back, I got a huge pay increase. I mean, massive. My pay went up by thousands. I mean, it probably jumped from something like, I don’t know, £5,000 to £7-8,000. So it was a massive increase. And this was quite bizarre. I finished up getting paid, because nobody else got paid. But I finished up getting paid, because we have something called rest and refreshment. Rest and refreshment was, if you worked on a Saturday or Sunday, you were entitled to two days off, but you could take it as money. And because I worked on Reports Politics, which went out on a Monday evening, we invariably worked on a Saturday and Sunday. So I had accrued this mass of time off, and just before the strike had begun – and this was purely coincidental – I had put in to have this either as money, I think as money, or maybe simply as time off, and so had Clarissa. And after the strike when they did all the calculations, they said, “Yes, we owe you.” So they actually gave it to me, although Mike Scott was extremely angry and tore a strip off Gordon and David for allowing that amount of rest and refreshment to accrue. And it was just inevitable if your programme is going out on a Monday, because you were setting up the programme on Saturday and Sunday.

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