Hard Times: A new miners’ union and the miners strike

Local OpinionsOur community reporter Spring Heeled Jack has written a series of short articles which we will share over the next few weeks.

Here is the latest installment of Hard Times.

A new miners’ union-the UDM

A new body was inaugurated, the Union of Democratic Miners (UDM), whose objective then was to resolve the conflict and allow miners to return to work without hindrance.

However, this was not without many problems; primarily due to the UDM miners being seen as ‘scabbing’ or ‘scab’ labour, working unofficially without official union approval from the NUM led by Arthur Scargill and Mick McGahey in Scotland.

Hard Times for mining communities

Ordinary people and their families living in mining communities throughout the entire UK were suffering badly due to extreme poverty and literally starving, so bucket collections were made weekly to help the miners and their families to survive.

Soup kitchens were also set up in community centres and in the miners clubs to support people suffering great hardship throughout the long strike.

A major problem arose over some miners prepared to return to work but also as family members, being miners staying out on strike.

This led to family feuds, with people often falling out and some friends and family never speaking to each other again.

The strike to end all strikes

It should not be forgotten that the miners’ strike was the last major UK wide strike over thirty years ago.

Ordinary people then suffered great hardship due to the egos of politicians and union leaders where the level of violence on both sides did not justify the means of closing many pits throughout the UK.

For instance, the media reported the events at Orgreave Coking Plant where images of appalling violence committed by the police and miners too were apparent, all of which was broadcast throughout the UK and captured forever on film.

However, mining communities continued to suffer, with many shops closing in small towns and villages simply because people didn’t have any money to buy food or household goods.

At the same time, the media often failed to accurately report the hardship suffered in the mining communities and the unbending government attitude to the strike.

The media focused on reporting violence on the picket lines and against the Police, who were instructed to adopt a hard line approach to all miners out on strike and were picketing outside their workplace

Secondary picketing by miners travelling around the country was regularly reported by the media at peak times such as the 6pm and 10pm news scheduled programmes.

Article submitted by Spring Heeled Jack.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not the Digital Sentinel.

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