The Women’s Industrial Union was a breakaway union from the General and Municipal Workers’ Union, formed by Pat Sturdy at the Lucas factory in Burnley in May 1971 because she had become very disillusioned with the attitude of the male-dominated union who ignored issues raised by women.
Pat attended the Socialist Woman conference in London in January 1972 as an observer, contributing to a panel on women and trade unions.
In her Book Women, Class and Education (2002), Jane Thompson quotes Pat from a letter as wanting the WIU:
…to be more like a Union-cum-Club… (to) look after members’ rights and help with their problems out of work…to stand together…to stand firmly with kindness, firmly with consideration. Only this way can we hope to show the men folk the error of their ways and stay uncorrupted ourselves. (p.35)
Although it attracted 200 members, the WIU opted after a year to go into the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers.
This is a report from Socialist Woman, summer 1972 .