The Straits Times
Published on Dec 06, 2012

Book launch: The day The Straits Times presses stopped


A strike that stopped The Straits Times from being printed for a week is being revisited in an account written by a former member of the picket lines.

Journalist Clement Mesenas, one of the union leaders who had led the walkout of 900 journalists and printers in the 1970s, talks about the tense time in The Last Great Strike, launched on Friday by Marshall Cavendish Editions at The Arts House.

The book covers eight days in 1971, from Dec 23 to Dec 30, when members of the Singapore Printing Employees Union and Singapore National Union of Journalists refused to work until they were guaranteed a bigger bonus than usual and better working conditions. Mr Mesenas was branch union chairman of the journalists' union at the time.

Workers gathered outside Times House, ST's former headquarters in Kim Seng Road, and called for a bigger, three-month bonus, and "mutual respect" between management and staff on the ground.