Cradley Heath women chainmakers finally get their moment on the global stage

The women chainmakers of Cradley Heath who were the first trade unionists to win a minimum wage finally have got their moment in the global spotlight.

The bull and chainmakers
The bull and chainmakers

Mary Macarthur led the women on a series of strikes in 1910 and 122 years their bravery was recognised the in opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Dancers representing the women chainmakers pulled a giant mechanical bull, into the Alexander Stadium, watched by a global audience of an estimated one million people.

Hazel Irvine from the BBC said: "The bull is led into the stadium by underpaid, overworked female chain-makers of the Industrial Revolution, trapped by their own circumstances as they produce the bonds that hold others in the slave trade.

"The women break free via a minimum wage strike of 1910. The bull breaks free because it is massive. And only Stella, the hero of the piece, can calm it down by offering it love and light."

Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight produced the ceremony and included the chainmakers but omitted Birmingham icons Cadbury's and J.R.R Tolkien.

Former Labour Cradley Heath Councillor John Tipper was delighted to see the women chainmakers on a global stage.

He said: "It was great to see the women Chainmakers represented at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, both as a reminder of our proud industrial heritage and of all that working people can achieve when they stick together."

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