AddThis SmartLayers

Paper scents victory in 10-year fight over cash for fishermen

A 10-year campaign involving the Grimsby Telegraph to win job-loss compensation for distant-water fishermen may soon be over.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has promised to resolve the issue “soon” – and the indications are that the payout could be as high as £15m to be shared among 3,000 men.

In 1990, the Telegraph joined the fight, which was started by the British Fishermen’s Association, and has played an active role in pressing home the case ever since. Over the years the Telegraph has:

  • Bombarded Government ministers on several occasions with thousands of demands for action from its readers.
  • Held a council of war at its offices between fishermen’s leaders from Grimsby, Hull and Fleetwood, MPs and community leaders to draw up plans for a national campaign.
  • Produced a special newspaper detailing the men’s claims, which was circulated to every MP in the Commons.
  • Repeatedly highlighted the case at local level and regularly featured examples of the hardship faced by men who were thrown out of work without a penny.
  • Produced thousands of special posters, circulated to organisations, pubs and clubs in all three ports, with the message “Give them what they’re owed.”
  • Prepared dossiers for party leaders stating the men’s case.
  • Laid on transport to take scores of men to London for demonstrations at the Houses of Parliament.

    Throughout the campaign, the paper has worked with Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell and, in more recent times, Cleethorpes MP Shona McIsaac.

    “This has been a community campaign for people who were disregarded by the system and forgotten.

    “The British Fishermen’s Association was formed in Grimsby to fight for justice and we believed their case to be one worth fighting for,” said Telegraph editor Peter Moore.

    “Ten years is a long time and we have often felt we were on a lost cause, but we persisted and refused to accept defeat. Now we are confident that we are almost there. We have been told that Commons leader Margaret Beckett has pledged to press ministers for a decision as soon as possible.

    “We believe that this has proved that a local paper can play a key role in orchestrating a campaign and pressurising those in authority. That is one of our key roles in the community we serve.”

    Back to the Campaigns index