The Miners' Strike 1984/85

The miners' strike 1984-5: lies, damned lies and the press

Every day the smooth-faced pundits forecast on the box.

The miners' strike is lost, they say, and Scargill's on the rocks
Lies, defamation, misinformation, this is the testing time
He kept faith with the men who elected him, and that is a major crime.
The Media, Ewan McColl

By Mick Duncan

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Marxist Theory and History: 

Miners' strike: the events of August 1984

Beginning August: After South Wales NUM is fined £50,000 the NUM calls on the TUC and the rest of the trade union movement for solidarity action. Nothing happens. The movement begins to go into retreat, although the miners would remain, fundamentally, solid until November.

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Learning from solidarity: the miners' strike 1984-5

Author: 

Jim Denham

"Support groups are beginning to assume the status of one of the positive lessons of the 1984-85 strike in much the same way that mass picketing was seen as the lesson of the 1972 strike".

Recalling the miners' strike support work done in Birmingham.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

The miners' strike 1984-5: The events

The second in our series looking back at the miners' strike details the events up to April 1984.

21 March 1984: power unions (including the GMB) advise their members to cross picket lines. Steelworkers will also cross picket lines.

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The miners' strike 1984-5

The events

13 July: Government withholds tax refunds to striking miners.
19 July: NUM/NCB talks last three days. Despite NUM willingness to negotiate, the NCB are ordered to stand firm by the government. Some of the NCB officials wanted to settle. They were later sacked or resigned.
31 July: South Wales NUM fined £50,000 and the High Court seizes South Wales NUM funds. The union had defied an injunction against picketing granted to two haulage firms. The Tories are beginning to up the stakes.

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The miners' strike 1984-5

We begin our series on the 1984-5 miners' strike. We will follow the events, re-tell the story and reflect on the lessons.

The events

1 March 1984: National Coal Board announces the closure of Cortonwood Colliery in Yorkshire and a cut back of 4 million tonnes of coal in the forthcoming year with a loss of 20,000 jobs. South Yorkshire miners go on unofficial strike.

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The miners' strike 1984-5

We continue our analysis of the miners' strike with a recap of the events of 25 April-12 May 1984 and a look at how Labour should have fought.

The events

25 April: Labour Party national executive votes to support the strike and to ask every Party member to donate 50p a week.

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The miners' strike 1984-5

We continue our look at the miners' strike by following the events of May 1984 and looking at international solidarity with the British miners.


The events

Beginning of May 1984: series of mass pickets in Notts coalfield. On 2 May police estimate 10,000 at Haworth and on 3 May almost as many at Cotgrave.

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The miners' strike 1984-5

A look back at the events of May-June and the Battle for Orgreave.

May 29-18 June: Thousands of pickets and police fight battles outside Orgreave coking plant, near Sheffield. Coke runs from Orgreave were suspended on 18 June.

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The miners' strike 1984-5

The events

1 July: Leon Brittan endorses the use of Criminal Law rather than Civil Law against the miners.
5 July: National Coal Board and NUM talks.
6 July: Management visits NUM members at home encouraging them back to work.
8 July: High Court declares NUM Annual Conference unlawful.
National dock strike called against the movement of coal.

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