In 1968, the Ford auto factory in Dagenham was one of the largest single private employers in the United Kingdom. In addition to the thousands of male employees, there are also 187 underpaid women machinists who primarily assemble the car seat upholstery in poor working conditions. Dissatisfied, the women, represented by the shop steward and Rita O'Grady, work with union rep Albert Passingham for a better deal. However, Rita learns that there is a larger issue in this dispute considering that women are paid an appalling fraction of the men's wages for the same work across the board on the sole basis of their sex. Refusing to tolerate this inequality any longer, O'Grady leads a strike by her fellow machinists for equal pay for equal work. What follows would test the patience of all involved in a grinding labour and political struggle that ultimately would advance the cause of women's rights around the world. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sandie Shaw who sang the film's title song used to work as a punched-card operator in the Ford plant at Dagenham several years before the events depicted in the film. See more »
In the opening titles a caption states that "In 1968 there were 55,000 men employed at Ford's Dagenham Factory", yet in the exchange between Mr Tooley & Barbara Castle, Tooley states that Ford employs 40,000 workers in the whole of the UK. See more »
Christ, I like a drink, but I ain't out on the beer every night or screwin' other women, or... 'Ere, I've never once raised me hand to you. Ever. Or the kids.
What? Why are you looking like that?
Right. You're a saint now, is that what you're tellin' me, Eddie? You're a bleedin' saint? 'Cause you give us an even break?
What are you saying?
That is as it should be. Jesus, Eddie! What do you think this strike's all been about, eh? Oh yeah. Actually you're right. You don't go on the drink,...
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Captions in the closing credits: "Two years later in May 1970 the Equal Pay Act became law. Similar legislation quickly followed in most industrial countries across the world. Ford Motor Company Limited went on to effect changes in its employment practices and is now used as an example of a good practice employer." See more »
I really enjoyed this film. Why are such top-notch films so few and far between? A great period piece... a great illustration of social history. It is well written apart from a couple of modern expressions in the dialogue. It is brilliantly acted, the settings, costumes and clothes are excellent. It took my attention at all times and I was sorry when it came to an end. The women really gave the impression of being genuinely good mates. I hope the working conditions for them in Ford's were not quite so cramped as the film portrayed! I worked in a clothing factory in Witham, Essex in 1968 and there was room to walk round all the sewing machines and we kept it immaculately clean. It's a pity equal pay still isn't quite there, in spite of legislation. That old trick of changing the job-title to keep the pay-rate down perpetuates! I have just read the other reviews. I notice Richard Schiff mentioned a lot... not sure who he is or what he played in the film, but I also note the more negative reviews are written by men, which illustrates the point of the film has well and truly got home. Something I found to be most refreshing in this film is the characters, which I would describe as normal... It was not about people who are constantly saying "f**k and are late for posh weddings. Nor was it about people who work for or know a prime minister and meet up when they go to the local comprehensive school nativity play. As for "hot pants" appearing... these girls were machinists... they would have made their own clothes... we all did. My sister made a very short pair of bright yellow shorts in 1963. We've got the Super 8 film of her wearing them to prove it!
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