FORMER Cammell Laird workers jailed in 1984 after occupying a gas rig at the yard are taking their fight for justice to the European Parliament.

Thirty-seven men were involved in the occupation in an effort to stop compulsory redundancies at the Birkenhead yard.

But they were sacked and sentenced in their absence to 30 days' imprisonment for contempt of court after defying a judge's orders to leave the rig.

Now - with the support of their union the GMB - they are hoping to get a hearing in the European Parliament in the autumn, having exhausted all channels at national level to gain access to information and justice.

GMB member and ex-Cammell Laird worker Edward Marnell from Aintree and others made their petition to the European Parliament on July 4.

Mr Marnell has always maintained their imprisonment was used as a deterrent for other would-be striking workers, such as the miners, who were involved in a bitter dispute with the Conservative Government at that time.

A statement today from the union said the European route became necessary after every effort to locate official documentation in the UK failed.

They are seeking answers related to the decision to prosecute them, the severity of the sentencing for contempt, their incarceration in high-security Walton Prison and the termination of all employment rights by the company.

Kathleen Walker Shaw, GMB European officer, said: “The unjust treatment of the Cammell Laird strikers constitutes a longstanding miscarriage of justice."

She said efforts to obtain information have included requests to UK heads of state and justice ministers.