domingo, março 06, 2005

Some Figures on the Miner's Strike

We are living in the county of North-Yorkshire, in England. This region, like many others in the UK, saw in 1984 one of the most interesting and corageous struggles between trade unions and a government in Europe. In 1984, miners all over the UK embarked on a strike over pit closures that lasted one year.
We already talked about this subject (Attack on Our Civic Liberties III), here we add some figures on the miner's strike (source: BBC News).

The strike began with the announcement of 20,000 job losses and the closure of twenty pits.

During the strike 20,000 people were injured or hospitalised. 200 served time in prison or custody. 966 men were originally sacked for no more than being on picket lines. 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.

Joe Green and David Jones were killed on picket lines. Jimmy Jones and Terry Leaves died on their way to a picket. Darren Holmes, aged 15,Paul Holmes, aged 14, Paul Womersley, aged 14, died digging for coal during the winter. David Wilkie, died taking a miner back to work

South Yorkshire police have paid more than half a million pounds compensation to mineworkers arrested at the Orgreave coking plant in June 1984. The police agreed to pay £425,000 compensation and more than £100,000 legal costs to 39 mineworkers. The settlement followed the collapse of prosecutions against 95 mineworkers for riot, unlawful assembly and other offences. Their trial was stopped after 43 days in 1987 when it was revealed that the prosecution HAD FABRICATED EVIDENCE. The police was also found responsible of harassment and victimisation.

From a debate at the House of commons in 1991:

Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield) : Is the Leader of the House aware that the award of £500,000 or more in damages and costs to 39 miners who were injured, maliciously prosecuted and in other ways damaged by the South Yorkshire police is unprecedented in the history of British law? Does he recall that on 19 June 1984 the then Prime Minister and the then Home Secretary, who is now a Commissioner in Brussels, described what happened as "mob rule", that the then Home Secretary said that those charged with riot might face life imprisonment, that the case was tested in the courts and that the courts threw out the charge of riot, and that the men were proved innocent?

Is the Leader of the House aware that the other day when the settlement was made it was clear that in so far as there was violence, it was on the part of the police, and it was admitted during the riot trial that the BBC transposed the film to show stones being thrown before the cavalry charge although the police video confirmed otherwise? Indeed, the ministerial responsibility for what happened was established on 22 July 1985 when I made public the text of the "public order tactical operations manual" which the Home Secretary had approved. This is a matter of ministerial responsibility on which the Home Secretary should make a full statement.


At 3/07/2005 1:35 da manhã, Anonymous Pedro said...

The history of coal miners and trade unionism in Yorkshire is indeed fascinating; when George Orwell was still a socialist and worked as a reporter he wrote the vividly compelling “The Road to Wigan Prier” which I’d like to mention, as a weblog suggestion, especially for those of us living in York!
For those of us who’re economists it is also to mention David Newberry’s analysis of the privatization of the electric power markets in this country. What was primarily justified as an allocative efficiency target is seen by many political analysts as an easy way for the Government to get rid of subversive forces as --- the Yorkshire miners.


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