Grunwick strike leader dies aged 77

Tributes were being paid yesterday to Jayaben Desai, the Asian trade unionist who inspired and led one of the UK's best-known industrial actions, who has died aged 77.

The diminutive Mrs Desai became familiar to television audiences in the mid 1970s as the leader of what were dubbed the "strikers in saris" at the Grunwick film processing laboratory in Willesden, north London.

The walkout by the mainly female Asian workforce and their two-year picket line fight for union recognition attracted huge support from across the union movement.

It was ultimately unsuccessful, however. Labour MP Virendra Sharm said she had been an influential role model.