UK miners' strike (1984–85)
The Miners’ Strike of was an attempt by miners to stop the National Coal Board (NCB) and the government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher shutting down collieries (mines). By the early s the collieries were losing money. Mar 06, · Between March and March , more than half the country's , miners left work in what was the biggest industrial dispute in post-war Britain. But in .
The article contains interesting information about the strike, its background, the aftermath and its importance to all workers in Britain. The miners strike of will always be remembered in British working class history as the most significant turning point in the power relationship between the working class organisations of how to get rid of period cramps at work trade unions, and the state representing the interests of how to print labels on brother printer privileged minority in the late twentieth century.
The losses endured by the working class and their organisations as a whole with the defeat of the miners are still to this day attempting to be rebuilt, as are the shattered communities of the ex-pit towns.
Understanding the struggle and the lessons that can be drawn from it during the months of are of utmost importance if these organisations are to be rebuilt, as well as the iin class movements as a whole. In the then Conservative government had been replaced with a Labour one, brought down by the miners strike of the same year. The Labour government realised that the working class, particularly the miners, had political power to exercise, and that if strikd correctly could force change in even the leadership of the country.
Obviously wanting to avoid this in future, Labour set up think tank groups to decide the best course of action to stop this th again, bringing an end to their term of power. The think tanks set up pinpointed the idea of national pay bargaining a centralised structure where issues on pay how to get the marriage certificate in andhra pradesh conditions could be discussed by miners across the country, which had ended area disputes over wages and other such inequalities as a main factor in the power that the miners wielded.
Their power was in their unified strength behind the organisation and the unifying nature of this structure was recognised as the reason for the successful strikes ofand Labour introduced 'Area Incentive Schemes' alongside the structure of national pay bargaining and against national ballots in an attempt to split the miners. This meant now that wages and conditions would be decided locally, and the area was given the higher degree of importance than the national. The scheme was most well received in Nottinghamshire and the Midlands against national ballot decisionswhere as we will see, sought to consolidate its own interests ahead of that of the majority of miners on strike during However, Labour lost the next general election, and the Conservatives again came to power in with Margaret Thatcher at the helm and the How to tighten chain on electric chainsaw Incentive Schemes carried on as the Labour government had initiated them.
The events of were a culmination of many years of struggle by the miners to raise wages and conditions, and in the years immediately previously to the great strike to prevent earlier attempts of pit closures, the most obvious attempt being in by the still new Thatcher government.
The threat of strike action had however, caused the Thatcher government to abandon this and led to the Yorkshire miners to pass a resolution declaring that if a pit was to be closed for any reason other than exhaustion or geological difficulties, then a strike would take place to defend it. In earlythe government declared the agreements reached during the miners strike as obsolete and its intention to shut 20 mines which it considered, uneconomical.
In early March many miners in the affected areas began strike action, taking the initiative were the miners at the Manvers complex in Yorkshire, who were organised into the NUM National Union of Mineworkers as were most miners in the country. A local ballot for strike action was held on March 5th in response to the Coal Board's announcement that a further five pits were to undergo a program of 'accelerated closure' within whatt five weeks, this leading to workers at the Cortonwood Colliery at Brampton in North Yorkshire, and tye Bullcliffe Wood colliery near Osset to join the strike.
However it is worth noting that there were already miners on 'unofficial' strike action before the ballot was taken.
The announcement of more closures by the government was also to affect the collieries at Herrington in County Durham and Polmaise in Scotland and by the next day pickets from Yorkshire began appearing at pits in Nottinghamshire, the county that was to be least affected by pit closures.
By March 12th Arthur Scargill, leader of the NUM had declared the minerss of making the local strikes national and called for strike action by all NUM members across the country. It was soon after declared that local groups were to decide on action amongst themselves, there being some confusion over calling a national ballot for strike action among the NUM leadership, since the government was enforcing a recent law that required unions to take a ballot if it is to hold strike action.
As the and '74 strikes had been pay disputes that affected all NUM members, the general consensus in '84 was that there was no need for a national ballot as the pit closures affected only specific areas of the country. Solidarity with the miners from workers in other industries was few and far between, however, there were some instances of action coming from the dockers and the railworkers, who risked dismissal if they refused to handle coal. Another source of great antagonism for the miners was the lack of support from the leadership of the steelworkers' unions after the support that they had given them during the steel strike of and the concessions that the NUM had made on the deliveries of coke to the steelworks during the strike.
Throughout the dispute, the miners of Nottinghamshire im to play a key role, their pits being the strik threatened by the closures and the miners therefore being least threatened minees job losses. Most of the Nottinghamshire pits had large reserves and had at their disposal a great deal of modern equipment that pits in other areas did not possess, as well as this, the industry reforms implemented by the Callaghan government in made them the miners there the most well paid in the country.
This provoked great antagonism between miners who were observing the strike and those who were not and became the source of many instances of violence. Towards the end of the strike, many Nottinghamshire miners broke from the NUM over the lack of a national ballot which they saw as 'undemocratic' and formed the Union of Democratic Mineworkers UDM and have since been involved in numerous court battles with the NUM, mostly over finances.
Overall support for the strike across the coalfields of Britain was varied, as we have already seen in the case of the Nottinghamshire miners. The majority of miners in the country did observe the strike, the exceptions being particularly the miners in Leicestershire, South Derbyshire, how to cancel virgin media broadband contract online Midlands and North Wales.
The miners of South Wales were still bitter to an extent over the lack of support they had received in previous years over their attempts to launch strikes in support of the steelworkers strikke health workers, but there were enough threatened pits in the area for the strike to get on its feet.
Along with Kent the miners in South Strlke held out the longest. The government, tightly observing the contingency what on hbo signature right now suggested in the report into nationalised industries known as the Ridley Plan in the event of a strike, mobilised tens of thousands of police who were drafted in from all over the country. While their official role during the strike was to 'employ riot tactics in order to uphold the law against violent picketing', they often initiated unprovoked baton charges against pickets, such as happened at the much publicised 'Battle of Orgreave' and such that are widely believed to have caused the deaths of pickets David Jones and Joe Green.
Three children also died during the strike, from picking coal in the winter. Members of the British Army are also widely believed by miners to have been present at the picket lines, and there exists film footage of wht wearing tunics missing any identifying numbers on their lapels. Throughout the strike the miners were often very isolated from popular opinion across the country, while many areas of North of England and Wales were supportive of the strike, the mass hysteria cooked up by the capitalist press The Sun and the Daily Mail in particular, who kept up a smear campaign against the strike throughout and the scaremongering of the Thatcher government caused many people in the South of England excluding Kent to view the strike with suspicion, and at odds with their interests.
The wives, mothers and daughters of the miners also haopened a very important wbat during the strike, and often took up much of the fundraising duties as well as staffing the soup kitchens that were so desperately needed by the starving communities. They also produced large amounts of literature, often of a defensive nature from the attacks directed at the miners by the national press. Madeline Butterfield, a woman involved in the WAPC whose book 'Striking Thoughts' was published after the strike recalled that, "The strike was an opportunity for everyone to discover what their talents and capabilities were and to put them into practice.
The strike began to fall apart in the early months ofwith miners in fhe regions reluctantly returning to work. The hands of Thatcher were strangling the mining communities and the families that lived in them were essentially living on nothing, even being forced to loot local shops for food. The ruthless smear campaign of the right-wing press was also taking its toll on the strikers, constantly under attack and being misrepresented by the lies that were being spread around the country about them.
Arthur Scargill, rather predictably, also came under attack from the press, constantly trying to play the 'loony-leftist' card against him and making his words appear as the paranoid rants of a Marxist.
A ballot was taken on March 3rd, and by a tiny majority the miners decided to return to work, defeated, without a new agreement with management. At the NUM conference that decided this, only Kent voted to carry on the strike. Soon after, the government's program of 'accelerated closure' was put into practise, still adhering to the suggestions of the Ridley plan that it would be cheaper to import coal from Australia, Columbia and America than it would be to extract it in Britain.
With no regard for the devastation this would wreak upon British mining communities, Thatcher continued her plan and the wider program of de-industrialisation in the name of the privileged minority. The majority, personified by the hopelessness of the destroyed mining communities, being left with unemployment, want, poverty and no chance for a strikd, or peaceful existence.
The Nottinghamshire miners had been manipulated by the government also, told that their pits were safe from closure inthey had been reluctant to join the strike. If any more proof of the governments intentions to completely split hwat organised miners in half and push them against whta other was needed, then this was it, most of the Nottinghamshire pits what is the current spatial distribution of judaism closed between and The coal industry in Britain was finally privatised in and is now strkie as UK Coal, by this time there were only 15 deep mines still in production and as of March the number dropped to 8.
The degradation that is now rampant in the ex-mining communities has been well documented. As well as the obvious factor of unemployment, suicides rose significantly, particularly in After months of strike pay, many miners 19884 their families were heavily in debt, and having to emerge during the years after the whta jobless because of the closures, was miner strain that many, understandably, could not handle.
Wakefield was also classed in an EU report of being one minrs the most deprived areas of Europe, along with Grimethorpe in South Yorkshire and Knowsley in Merseyside, all ex-mining communities. Communities had been devastated and left to rot, receiving not an ounce of help from the government that had wielded the sword that had cut the very lifeline that the communities had depended on, the coal pits.
The potential for change had been defeated with the miners, as had the power of the trade unions and the state had been left to consolidate its free market agenda. Only through the unified strength of the miners in complete solidarity with each other could Thatcher have been defeated. The stress that is placed upon the need for complete class unity when faced with long and bitter struggles such as the days ofwhich is indeed the main lesson that should be drawn from the strike, should never be underestimated.
We listed our recomended short introductory texts on this same subject under the 'manchester class struggle forum 7' blog, but this longer text should certainly get a special mention in the 'more like this ' section:. An account of the workings of rural agricultural collectives in Aragon, revolutionary Spain, Contributors include John Hunter, Covington The libcom library contains nearly 20, articles. If it's your first time on the site, or you're looking for something specific, it can be difficult to know where to start.
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If you don't have permissions to post content yet, just request it here. Notes on the miners strike, Posted By Steven. Jan 11 Share Tweet. Attached files. Login or register to post comments. Comments Spikymike Jul 21 Deliveroo workers to strike over exploitative practices and low pay. Comments 1. An account of agrarian collectives in Aragon - Augustin Souchy. Info The libcom library contains nearly 20, articles. Log in for more features Click here to register now. Death Notice: Phil Windsor R.
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Jan 11, · The miners strike of will always be remembered in British working class history as the most significant turning point in the power relationship between the working class organisations of the trade unions, and the state representing the interests of the privileged minority in the late twentieth century. Mar 03, · Timeline of UK miners' strike of LONDON -- Following is a chronology of events in Britain's miners strike, the longest major labor dispute in the nation's history: -- March 6 Billy Elliot the Musical plays out amid the turmoil of one of the darkest times in modern British history – the coal miners’ strike. As young Billy studies ballet, despite the objections of his dad and the derision of his community, the mining town in which he lives experiences relentless hardship and despair. Money and food are scarce.
By the early s the collieries were losing money. The government announced on 6 March that 20 collieries would close, meaning that many mining communities would lose their main source of employment. Many of the richest coal fields had been worked out and the number of miners had been decreasing over the previous few decades. After successful strikes in and which prevented pit closures, calls were made for strikes in the early s, eventually leading to the strike of Miners across Yorkshire began strike action and on 12 March, a national strike was declared by the NUM, but no official vote was held.
The government had already stockpiled six months worth of coal before the strike, anticipating that a strike might be coming. The National Recording Centre NRC , founded by the Association of Chief Police Officers for England and Wales ACPO in helped the government prepare for the organisation of police units travelling to areas of protests and in figuring out how to deal with flying pickets strikers who travelled to different areas to protest.
A greater number of miners came out on strike in Scotland, Yorkshire where the strike had started following the closure of Cortonwood Colliery , North East England and South Wales. There was less support across the Midlands, and Nottinghamshire, in particular, was targeted by flying picketing in the hopes of preventing local miners from going in to work.
During the strike, there were violent clashes between flying pickets and the police. Strike-breakers in the militant areas were not easily forgiven for breaking the strike and going against the community. Police Incident report from Northumbria, Other miners' strikes in the s had caused the public a lot of trouble, as there had been power cuts, but this time the government had prepared well. Some miners began returning to work from September, with many more returning by January as union pay ran out and some found it hard to pay for basic necessities.
The strike officially ended on 3 March Police Incident Report from Durham, Most pickets throughout the strike were non-violent. However, violence against working miners was reported from the beginning.
Police action during the strike has also been criticised, for instance, in South Yorkshire complaints were made against police for unnecessary property damage caused whilst engaging with pickets. Police Clashing with Miners During the Strike. A number of lawsuits were brought against South Yorkshire police and eventually they were forced to pay out compensation.
After the strike, statistics showed over 11, people had been arrested, just over 8, of which had been charged, but only were given prison sentences. You can download a list showing the occupations of people arrested in Nottinghamshire between March and March Calls for a further strike in were ignored and from collieries in , only six remained in In December , the last deep colliery in Britain closed.
Colliery — coal mine and buildings associated with it. Strike breaker — someone who works during a strike. Strike — organised often by a union, but not allowed by the employers stopping of work by employees. Flying pickets — strikers who moved around the country to protest at different striking mines. Picket line — boundary at a place of work made by strikers, to stop strike breakers from entering.