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HISTORY OF THE NUM : 9 - THE STRUGGLE GOES ON

Since the end of the 1984-1985 strike, the National Coal Board, now renamed British Coal, has brutally dismembered the mining industry; 79 pits have been closed, and over 100,000 miners� jobs have been destroyed. While technological change has resulted in productivity rising by 75 per cent, the industry�s economic problems, far from being resolved, have been compounded.

British Coal has lost �4 billion over the past four years; its �macho� management has proved an unmitigated disaster. Harassment and intimidation of mineworkers has meant constant flare-ups of local industrial action and statistics on working days lost in this way reveal the levels of frustration and anger found in the coalfields today.

Now the Government, already preparing the de-nationalisation of the electricity supply industry, has signalled its plans for passing coal back into private hands.

Once again, miners and their Union face major battles. The dream of a truly nationalised coal industry, whose initial form took a century of struggle to create, cannot and must not be given away. The sons and daughters of those who built the great National Union of Mineworkers have an obligation to defend those hard-won gains obtained through blood, sweat, toil and tears.

After the strike, sections of the Notts miners formed a breakaway organisation, as had happened in 1926. Having withdrawn from the struggle for pits and jobs, they now established with the encouragement of Coal Board and Tory Government a body known as the Union of Democratic Mineworkers. The same bitterness and anger directed at the �Spencer Union� after 1926 has been shown by miners towards the UDM.

They feel that while there is a place in the NUM for all miners, there must never be any place for the leaders of this breakaway.

The lessons of 1926-1937 must be learned; there can be no merger, collaboration of co-operation with an organisation which has been established to destroy everything that the NUM stands for and has struggled for.

In its attempts to weaken the NUM and support the breakaway, the Coal Board, or British Coal, unilaterally scrapped the conciliation and consultation agreements which had formed the bedrock of the industry since nationalisation in 1947. British Coal has continued to give every encouragement to the breakaway in Notts, and has conducted a war of attrition against the NUM.

But in 1989, as the Union looks back on its first hundred years, it can draw strength from the experiences of the past. The NUM will continue to fight for economic, social and political justice. It will fight for good wages and conditions, and, like the founders of the Union, it will also fight for a Socialist Britain.

In celebrating a century of struggle, NUM President Arthur Scargill has said:

�Faced with a choice of compromising with or confronting the Tory Government, I am proud that Britain�s miners decided to stand and fight for the future of our industry; I know that history will vindicate us.�


Since the end of the 1984-1985 strike, the National Coal Board, now renamed British Coal, brutally dismembered the mining industry; 79 pits have been closed, and over 100,000 miners� jobs have been destroyed. While technological change has resulted in productivity rising by 75 per cent, the industry�s economic problems, far from being resolved, have been compounded.

British Coal has lost �4 billion over the past four years; its �macho� management has proved an unmitigated disaster. Harassment and intimidation of mineworkers has meant constant flare-ups of local industrial action and statistics on working days lost in this way reveal the levels of frustration and anger found in the coalfields today.

Now the Government, already preparing the de-nationalisation of the electricity supply industry, has signalled its plans for passing coal back into private hands.

Once again, miners and their Union face major battles. The dream of a truly nationalised coal industry, whose initial form took a century of struggle to create, cannot and must not be given away. The sons and daughters of those who built the great National Union of Mineworkers have an obligation to defend those hard-won gains obtained through blood, sweat, toil and tears.

After the strike, sections of the Notts miners formed a breakaway organisation, as had happened in 1926. Having withdrawn from the struggle for pits and jobs, they now established with the encouragement of Coal Board and Tory Government a body known as the Union of Democratic Mineworkers. The same bitterness and anger directed at the �Spencer Union� after 1926 has been shown by miners towards the UDM.

They feel that while there is a place in the NUM for all miners, there must never be any place for the leaders of this breakaway.

The lessons of 1926-1937 must be learned; there can be no merger, collaboration of co-operation with an organisation which has been established to destroy everything that the NUM stands for and has struggled for.

In its attempts to weaken the NUM and support the breakaway, the Coal Board, or British Coal, unilaterally scrapped the conciliation and consultation agreements which had formed the bedrock of the industry since nationalisation in 1947. British Coal has continued to give every encouragement to the breakaway in Notts, and has conducted a war of attrition against the NUM.

But in 1989, as the Union looks back on its first hundred years, it can draw strength from the experiences of the past. The NUM will continue to fight for economic, social and political justice. It will fight for good wages and conditions, and, like the founders of the Union, it will also fight for a Socialist Britain.

In celebrating a century of struggle, former NUM President Arthur Scargill said:

�Faced with a choice of compromising with or confronting the Tory Government, I am proud that Britain�s miners decided to stand and fight for the future of our industry; I know that history will vindicate us.�


The Tories privatised the mining industry in 1994 and the new coal owners RJB Mining and later UK Coal continued the rundown of Britain�s mining industry. Coal, that was once the bedrock of Britain�s energy needs continued to be squandered by closing pits as coal owners became land speculators.

In 2002 Arthur Scargill retired as NUM President after 20 years in that office. He continued however as Honorary President and new officials were elected to take the Union forward.

Steve Kemp, from Yorkshire, was elected National Secretary and Ian Lavery, from the North East, National Chairman with Keith Stanley, from Nottinghamshire as National Vice Chairman. All three are just as committed to fighting for the mining industry as their predecessors.

In 2005, as we close this chapter of the miners� struggle there are 9 collieries left with only 3,000 miners.

Greedy coalowners without an ounce of humanity focused only on profits forced mineworkers to work 12 hour shifts as their predecessors had done 150 years earlier and had the cheek to call it progress.

The NUM is still a proud union and has successfully recovered billions of pounds in damages for the injuries and ill health suffered by mineworkers over the years.

As well as for injuries sustained at work, compensation has been recovered for industrial diseases such Bronchitis and emphysema, Industrial Deafness and Vibration White Finger. The NUM organisation in mining communities throughout the country has continued to provide a first class service long after the local coalmines have gone.

Steve Kemp, the new NUM National Secretary said:

�They can close pits but they can never destroy who we are or dilute our basic humanity.�
Oaks Disaster 1866
MEDIA RELEASE Council supports Memorial to the Oaks Disaster 25 November 2016 Barnsley Council will offer support to People and Mining and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), as their plans for a Memorial to the Oaks Disaster moves closer to completion. People and Mining and the Joint Gro

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Wales Assembly Support for Miners
The NUM South Wales Area has helped provide information and support that has resulted in the Wales Assembly unanimously supporting motion seeking a review of the Miners Pension surplus sharing arrangements. The debate can be read here. http://www.num.org.uk/uploads/26/1272.pdf  NUM Officia

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Orgreave
Truth and justice 32 years on what’s the point “no deaths or wrongful convictions” who cares? Well Home Secretary there are plenty of people who do care about truth and justice even if you apparently do not! Disappointed yes, but surprised, well there was an argument that perhaps t

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Aberfan