Thought for the Week

Encouraging and engaging discussion, debate and discourse.

Is the miners' strike still effecting our communities?

30 years ago the miners at Cortonwood Colliery, Barnsley walked out on strike in an attempt to prevent the closure of their pit. This sparked reactions across the country from other mine workers and led to one of the longest and most violent episodes of industrial action Britain has ever seen. At it's height 165,000 miners were out on strike. They were supported by people from all over the world. In many communities miners' wives pushed the struggle forward, joining picket lines and arranging communal food kitchens. The state responded by putting more and more police into the coal fields.

Are our local communities still suffering the loss of the mines?

What were the wider impacts of the strike?

After almost a year the National Union of Miners took it's men back to work. They could no longer survive the hardships and deprivation caused by the lack of income. The strength of the union had been undermined. What does that mean for the British work force today? Within the next 10 years all but 3 mines were closed for good. Mining villages and towns were left with huge unemployment issues which in turn led to many business closures and eventually high crime rates. How might our local villages have developed differently if the mine had never closed? Relationships between the police and the people who supported the strike were very tense. Violence was seen on both sides and many people lost respect for the police force believing they behaved unprofessionally. Will this respect ever be regained? Families and friendship broke down when people had differing opinions on the strike. Those who continued to work the mines during the strike were 'scabs' who some people have still not forgiven for what they saw as a betrayal of colleagues. How might their relationships have been different without the strike?
The miners Strike 25 years on