Miners Strike: New Book

January 2022 Forums Events and announcements Miners Strike: New Book

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  • #100147
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    "There could have been some sort of settlement after the NACODS vote but it didn't happen" Your unspoken inference is that it was Scargill who thwarted it. This timeline  describes a number of occasions the NUM sought a deal but baulked at total capitulation.  But i am still curious to know what documentary evidence there is that Scargill and Co sought a political strike rather than react to a political assault on their jobs with perhaps some unwise playing to the crowd rhetoric…a crime most trade unionists would be guilty of at the best of times.  ==============================================  23 MAY 1984 – NCR walks out of talks with NUM and demand pledge of union co-operation in the closing of 'uneconomic pits'. 8-13 JUNE 1984 – Talks with NCR, which again result in demands on NUM to agree to management strategy. 1 JULY 1984 – Leon Brittan endorses use of Criminal Law rather than Civil Law against the miners. 19 JULY 19841 NUM/NCB talks last 3 days. Despite NUM willingness to negotiate, the NCB are ordered to stand firm. 11 OCTOBER 1984 – ACAS talks begin, although Ian MacGregor declares of ACAS 'This place stinks' and continues to demand NUM concessions. 15 OCTOBER 1984 – Despite NUM willing to accept two formulas put forward by ACAS, the negotiations are terminated when NCB walk out. 25 OCTOBER 1984 ACAS prepare formula which both NACODS and NUM accept and which includes provision for an independent review procedure. The NCB continue their demands on NUM.  17 NOVEMBER 1984 – NCB refuses to negotiate unless NUM gives agreement to close pits. 5 DECEMBER 1984 – MacGregor announces plans to privatise pits. 23 JANUARY 1985 Peter Walker, Secretary of State for Energy, refuses to hold an independent inquiry into the future of the coal industry. NUM General Secretary, Peter Heathfield, meets with NCB Director for informal discussions but MacGregor intervenes to prevent negotiations. 29 JANUARY 1985 – NCB insists upon the precondition that NUM sign agreement not to oppose pit closures. 3 MARCH 1985 – NUM ends strike. A Special Delegate Conference votes by 98-91 to return to work on 5th March 1985 without an agreement.===================== ===================== ======================================================================= And i do not recall any demands that the return to work decision should be put to a full national ballot! It will always be a matter of opinion on whether Scargill mismanaged but i am very reluctant to go beyond that criticism and accuse him of mis-leading the miners by imposing his own politics upon them. If he is guilty then a helluva lot of other trade unuionists and TUC officials are also standing  in the dock for exhibiting lack of some back-bone, not to mention the shameful actions of the Labour Party and spineless Kinnock. After Nacods did Scargill realise that continuing the strike would be suicidal ????…that is for him to answer, i don't know but i don't question his sincerity and loyalty to his members. 

    #100148
    ALB
    Keymaster
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    "There could have been some sort of settlement after the NACODS vote but it didn't happen"Your unspoken inference is that it was Scargill who thwarted it.

    Yes that is what I'm saying but that's not to question his sincerity or his commitment to the miners' cause (the gutter press continue to attack him to this day), only to criticise his skill as a trade union negotiator. And of course the miners were responding to a well-planned assault on them and had no alternative but to resist by going on strike. My criticism of Scargill is that (supported by a majority of the NUM Executive, I agree) he held out for All (=No Pit Closures) or Nothing which resulted in complete and utter defeat. Worse than Nothing in fact since the NUM was smashed too. Some deal which would have saved some pits and the union could have been reached. That's just my opinion.

    #100149
    Anonymous
    Inactive

     I suppose it is a matter of perspective. It was political in the sense that some miners recognised the existence of the ‘new right’ with its deliberate policy of breaking up the trade union movement. Socialism was not an option. They have been proved right . Work and community  was deliberately re organised to avoid union organisationMy own view of the miners is not of failure. You cannot say they failed because they lost their jobs and communities. That would make the Tolpuddle martyrs failures because they were deported!I think history will show that the 84 strike as a landmark in the history of trade unions. At the time of the strike the Tory cabinet was full of corruption and layabouts.The miners were a group of workers who took a stand against the relentless onslaught from the capitalist class. Compared to the behaviour of the snivelling capitalists, they displayed strength of character and loyalty. They are still seen as enemies and examples of what we do not want to see again, but they and their families lost their loved ones and shortened their own lifes to make profits for parasites and keep the rest of us warm. 

    #100150
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Again i don't think you are factually correct, ALB. What the demand was and what they agreed with ACAS and others was that there would be an agreed procedure when a pit was proposed by NCB  to be closed down to decide if it was indeed justfied. After all  i think every miner knew certain pits were just had too many faults to remain open or was exhausted. But which ones? It was the issue of "other reasons" and the issue over the breakdown of talks  in a nearly accepted  agreement over the word "beneficial"  but again Scargill did not break off the talks but McGregor. Here is your point about his failure as a negotiater is relevant. He should have recognised that there are way of wording settlements which permit both sides to claim victory. So perhaps Scargills intrangience was a factor that can be accepted as contributory to the defeat but the attitue that Scargill would not compromise on pit closures i think was part of the govrnment disinformation campaign. I often imagine if the red scare of Gormley had not changed the election rules and McGahey had become leader how different it may have all been but that was not to be and is simply speculation But even after that round of talks the NUM were still prepared to agree to pit closures under amended conditions of Plan For Coal so it is not a policy of blanket refusal to have no pit closing Scargill had actually previously lost strike ballots on pit closures in 1981 and 1982 (highlighting the issue of whether someone has the right to vote away another persons job)This list of Durham pits closed will bring back memory of names for some on this list. http://www.durhamintime.org.uk/durham_miner/our_dwindling.pdf

    #100151
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Vin , we should not  hide from the consequences of the defeat. It set back the general trade union movement for a decade. It didn't act as a spur for more industrial action but increased reluctance to use the strike weapon. But i am not saying they didn't accomplished great things staying out for a year, women in the mining communities organising themselves ….etc But there is no glory in defeat no matter how valiant the loser was.  It was not until the mid 90s that the British trade unions recovered their confidence to strike officially and unofficially when the postal workers entered a phase of militancy. Eventually they too began suffering defeats after a spell of success and as we witness cannot hold back the power of the State.    We should not wallow in defeat  but learn and what the postal workers learned from the miners strike was to use your strengths and not to try an all out strike as the postal workers did in 1971 but carry out a guerrilla one -day, two day strikes (particularly the wildcat ones) spread across the country relying on the blacking of the trapped mail to achieve our concessions. 

    #100152
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    Vin , we should not  hide from the consequences of the defeat. It set back the general trade union movement for a decade. It didn't act as a spur for more industrial action but increased reluctance to use the strike weapon. 

    The miners were not blame for that.

    #100153
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    ALB and others, myself included,  at times, would say the losses could have been minimised by reaching a settlement earlier and that the knock-on effect of the defeat would not have been as severe. No one is apportioning blame to the miners but questioning the wisdom of the negotiating skills of the key players in the NUM executive. I have already shown that the media representation of accusing Scargill is off- target and where my own sympathies lie , but it takes two tango. A general has to know when to beat a retreat in an orderly withdrawal before it turns into a rout. The same battles in the class war is played out over and over. We had INEOS Grangemouth strike where the union recognised the balance of forces lay with the employer and yielded so to fight another day, hopefully. Would the outcome have been any different if as i speculated Mick McGahey was president of the NUM. Who can say?But i wonder how many miners or other workers believed that the subsequent consequence was not the closure of certain pits but the end of the industry and the end of the NUM as a union? I don't think this was foreseen. Hindsight is always easy but we make our decisions in the circumstances that are known at the time. 

    #100154
    robert.cox
    Participant
    Brian wrote:
    I think 10 would be plenty.  Please send them to Geoff Williams the Swansea contact with the invoice.

    Hi BrianYour order has been despatched:The Strike Weapon Pamphlet 2013 Reprint10 copies @ £1 plus P&PInvoice sent with orderMany thanksYFSRobThe Socialist Party Kent & Sussex BranchBranch Treasurer – Robert Cox, Flat 4a Stanhope Road, Deal, CT14 6ABTelephone 07971 715569Emailrobert.cox@deal.fsworld.co.uk

    #100155
    Brian
    Participant

    Nice one Rob.  I'll have the event itemised for our next meeting on the 11th of March.  Unfortunately, unable to attend myself I've pre-booked for coordinating some training classes with the PTA.Will order the book shortly.

    #100156
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I wonder if this is in the book? The capitalist press avoided showing that the miners received support unless it came from 'dodgy' contibuters like Libya.'Enemy within' only from a capitalist point of view but allies to everyone else   

    #100157
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Dave Douglass highlighting one error of Scargill's leadership – the relationship with the steel-workers.http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/1002/miners-review-inspirational-collection

    #100158
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #100159
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Leon Brittan was a central figure in the Tories during the 1984 Miners strike. As Home Secretary he ordered a huge military-style police operation against the striking miners.I witnessed children starving and  family and friends attacked by the police with horses and batons. He smirked his way through it all. Revenge has taken a long time but I hope he spends the rest of his life rotting in prison Warning: Rule 4.  . Do not use the forum to send any material that you know or should know would expose the SPGB to criminal or civil liability. This includes but is not limited to material which constitutes libel, harassment, or violation of copyright. You may, of course, quote portions of third-party publications for ‘fair dealing’ purposes such as criticism or review. edited by v maratty on 13.14 2014

    #100160
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I was not expressing anyone's opinion but my own in the above post and I have removed the 'allegation'  for now and until or  if he is convicted of the offence he was questioned by the police about: rape.Can we expect Russell Brand and Arthur Scarghill to receive the same treatment as Leon Britain

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