THE NATIONAL Justice for Mineworkers Campaign was formed at the 1985 Labour Conference in the aftermath of the 1984/85 Miners' strike and was launched at the Albert Hall, London, in October 1986.
During the strike 20,000 people were injured or hospitalised (including NUM President Arthur Scargill). 200 served time in prison or custody. Two were killed on picket lines, three died digging for coal during the winter and 966 were sacked.
The objectives of the campaign from its beginning were to keep the issue of those victimised miners to the forefront of the labour and trade union movement and to raise money to alleviate hardship among the families of the victimised.
The Justice Campaign is supported by Labour Party and TUC conferences and many national & regional unions.
Remember, 966 men were originally sacked for no more than honouring picket lines, defending their jobs and pit communities, their class and the future of their children. Only a small number of miners had been dismissed for offenses against the person or damage to property. Indeed, many miners since cleared by the courts were not re-instated and neither were many more who successfully won their cases for unfair dismissal at industrial tribunals. Of those who were classified as sacked, few had their jobs back with British Coal. Many were even blacklisted from getting any work outside the coal industry.
Many of those sacked were active branch officials and, we contend, were clear victims of British Coal's attempts to stifle them, to remove them from the industry and thereby reduce the effectiveness of the NUM as a trade union. Some branch activists were even sacked after the return to work on March 5th 1985. Those they couldn't get during the strike they made certain they got afterwards.
After the return to work on March 5th 1985 the Tories wreaked havoc, not just on the on the mining industry, but also on the civil rights of the 966 miners who had been sacked during the strike by refusing to let them return to their rightful place of work.
Many of the men were sacked simply for being union activists. Yet this was one of the most principled strike ever, a strike not for money, but for jobs, in which 55 year old men went without their livelihood for a year so that a 25 year old and his family might have a job with a future to look forward to. Remember, the 966 men who were sacked during that strike set off a chain reaction of similar victimization of trades unionists after a deliberately provoked strike. Wapping with 6,000, P&O with 1,000 were just the most notable and matters culminated with the sacking of Civil Service trade union members at GCHQ, Cheltenham, for merely belonging to a trade union.
If any one has forgotten what the 1984/85 miners' strike was all about, let just one sobering fact sink in for a moment or two at the beginning of the strike there were 170 coal mines in Britain. By the end of 2003 there were just 15 pits left no, that's not a misprint: there are just 15 pits left in the whole of Britain!
Although there are no mines left for the sacked men to return to work we are still raising money every year for the ones who still haven't found full employment. And we are also fighting for the reinstatement of their interrupted pensions.
To find out more, browse this site which is the official site of the National Justice for Mineworkers Campaign and which is fully supported by the NUM.
Here you will find the story of unbelievable attacks on entire mining communities. You'll read of civil liberties abused in a manner usually found only in dictatorships, which Britain effectively became in many of the mining communities, well out of sight of the prosperous suburbs. For, like Charles Dickens' words describing the French Revolution:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of credulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us." (Charles Dickens: 'A Tale of Two Cities', opening paragraph).
winning web site
The photographs used have been acknowledged wherever possible.
Date this page updated: December 24, 2010
VICTIMISATION FACTS (1) Statistics on victimisation by NUM Area
(numbers dismissed in the dispute)
Cokemen 11 COSA (NCB staff employees) 1 Durham 150 Kent 47 Leicestershire 0 Midlands 22 North Derbyshire 76 Northumberland 29 North Wales 0 North Western 2 Nottingham 31 Power Group 2 Scotland 206 South Derbyshire 0 South Wales 74 Yorkshire 306 Total 957
The following died during the strike: Joe Green died during picket duty. Ferry Bridge, Yorkshire Darren Holmes, aged 15, died picking coal. Yorkshire Paul Holmes, aged 14, died picking coal. Yorkshire David Jones died during picket duty. Ollerton, Notts Jimmy Jones died on his way to a picket. South Wales Terry Leaves died on his way to a picket. South Wales Mike Rice died in a safety accident. South Wales David Wilkie, died taking a miner back to work. South Wales Paul Womersley, aged 14, died picking coal. Yorkshire
Hon Vice Presidents:
Wm. Etherington MP
LINKS TO RELATED SITES
[Click on the underlined links]
National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)
The official website of the NUM. Contains latest news, a history of the British mining unions, and forthcoming events.
Coal Production figures since 1947
If you're of a nervous disposition (or a miner or former miner) look away now, as this table from the Coal Authority's website shows the run-down in the number of mines, manpower and coal production in Britain since 1947. In 1947, 704,000 miners produced 188 million tonnes of coal working in 958 mines. In 2006 there are just 13 mines producing 10,000 tonnes of coal with less than 4,000 miners.
Women Against Pit Closures (WAPC)
WAPC was set up after the end of the strike to fight the government's pit closure programme and are still around.
North Staffs Miners Wives Action Group
One of the many Women's Groups formed during the strike, they continued campaigning afterwards, taking their plays, concerts and recordings to Britain's performance venues and picket lines. They were also heavily involved in planning events for the 20th anniversary of the strike in March 2004.
Free song: Miners Against Fascism
Singer-songwriter Tracey Curtis from Ammanfod in South Wales has a song called Miners Against Fascism which documents the campaign and actions of radical Amman Valley miners throughout the 20th century. The song can be downloaded for free by clicking HERE.
Andy Gregory is a former miner who has recently recorded a CD about the strike called 'The Miners'. The record is priced at £2.99 and you can order and pay for it on-line from the HMV website. Click HERE to hear and order the song from HMV.
This site contains the very latest news and information about the British mining scene. To save us duplicating their material you can find out for yourself what's happening by logging on here.
The website of photographer Martin Shakeshaft. It contains many images taken during the strike. Click on the 'Gallery' button.
Sheffield University web site
Participants of the strike in South Yorkshire give eye witness accounts.
Website designed by a former miner. There are sections on mining disasters, mining stories, mining songs and poems, mining history, photographs of Durham Miners' Galas and old collieries, banners, and much more.
Coal Mining History Resource Centre
A vast website of anything and everything to do with British mining history. Contents include: Links to other Coal Mining Sites; The National Database of Mining Deaths and Injuries in Great Britain (from 1852 to 1972); 1842 Royal Commission Reports (Children in the Mines); Colliery Scrapbook; Mining Disasters in Great Britain; Lists of Mines in 1869, 1880, 1908, 1919, 1938 and 1945; A Day in a Miners' Life (Picture Post Photos in 1939); Mining Art; Women and the Pits; Books on Mining History; Mining Texts (in Word Processor format); A Glossary of Mining Terms; Mining Prints; Miners' Lamps; Poetry Corner; A Collection of poems inspired by mining disasters; Catalogue of Abandoned Mines 1928; and Mining Videos.
A brief reading list about the strike.
Provides extensive coverage of international trade union news.
Cost of War in Iraq
This website has a continuously updated counter showing the cost of the Iraq war in US dollars. The cost so far is already in the hundreds of billions. A billion is a thousand million, or 1 followed by 9 zeros. Whichever way you describe it, an awful lot of money that could be put to better use is being squandered to kill mainly civilians in an illegal war. The counter is incrementing by a hundred dollars at a time.
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953
A comprensive list of 2000 websites of trade union, liberal and left organisations, grouped by the following categories: Anarchist, Arts and Music, Civil & Human Rights, Education, Equality/Social Justice,. Green Politics, International Solidarity, Labour Party, Media, New Movements, Peace, Public Services, Social Enterprise, Socialism, Students/Young People and Trades Unions.
They work for You
They Work for You is a non-partisan, volunteer-run website which aims to make it easy for people to keep tabs on their elected representatives. Find out your MP's voting record, their attendance record, their outside financial Interests, the expenses they've claimed, and in fact every thing you need to know about their performance in Parliament allegedly on your behalf.