four years have passed and the effects of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 are taking hold leaving some desperate economic migrants from the South arriving at Quarry Bank Mill looking for jobs. The workers in Styal village are worried that their arrival will drive down everyone's wages.
Esther leaves the apprentice house after signing her contract of employment. Her new home is a small, dirty cellar in Styal village, but it gives her some freedom. Patience makes the younger girls' lives a misery following Esther's departure.
The Chartist rally at Kersal Moor is just around the corner and Daniel does everything that he can to try and rally the workers. Esther holds a secret ballot in an attempt to convince William Greg to close the factory so that the workers can attend the rally.
Esther is in the final stages of pregnancy as eight months have now passed. She finally gives birth to a healthy baby boy following a difficult labour. She then returns to work the following day, but finds it hard to keep up as Lucy covers for her so she can rest and the friends finally reconcile. The Chartist Petition containing over one million signatures is rejected by Parliament. Daniel urges his disillusioned comrades not to resort to physical force.
William has no choice but to reduce wages as the cotton industry feels the impact of the recession. Daniel thinks that the workers should withdraw their labour. Esther's views on going on strike change after the consequences of the cuts leaves her son Billy's life in danger and she joins Daniel at the centre of the protest.
The striking workers create a picket line outside the mill gates. William Greg gets a group of men together to break the stand-off, who are joined by John Howlett's special constables. Daniel is arrested but urges for the workers to keep fighting. Esther is selected to attend the union meeting in Manchester in Daniel's place.