Feb 25 2018

COWIE MINERS, POLMAISE COLLIERY AND THE 1984-85 MINERS’ STRIKE

Dave Douglass reviews Steve McGrail and Vicky Patterson’s Cowie miners, Polmaise colliery and the 1984-85 miners’ strike. 

 

COWIE MINERS, POLMAISE COLLIERY AND THE 1984-85 MINERS’ STRIKE

Great Strike of 1984-85: an unequal battle

Polmaise was at the epicentre of the Scottish miners’ action in 1984. Like Cortonwood it was among ‘the first of the first’ to be threatened and pick up the gauntlet – the ‘single sparks’ that lit that prairie fire.

The struggle at Polmaise had started in February 84, and for those men and their families it ended 13 months later. The new, ‘get tough’ management style introduced into the Scottish and other coalfields prior to the Great Strike was a deliberate policy to prematurely kick-start the all-out action and break our long-term overtime ban strategy, which was relentlessly reducing stocks of coal at pitheads and power stations. There had been controversial closures in 1982 and 83, and half of Scottish mines were already engaged in forms of action around various disputes by February 84. Polmaise itself was out over the threatened closure of the pit. Continue reading “COWIE MINERS, POLMAISE COLLIERY AND THE 1984-85 MINERS’ STRIKE”

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Jul 08 2017

DURHAM MINERS’ GALA – BIG MEETING GETS BIGGER

The 133rd Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday 8th July will see some 150,000 march through the ancient city. Dave Douglass, ex-miner and author of Stardust and Coaldust autobiographical trilogy looks at its  history and the ongoing significance.

 

BIG MEETING GETS BIGGER

 

 

A day of looking back and looking forward

Crowds are now back to the size they were in the immediate post-war years following nationalisation, when they celebrated the defeat of the hated private coal-owners. This mother of all miners’ galas, featuring both picnics and demonstrations, was the labour movement’s most prestigious public platform. The miners formed the bedrock among the proletarian, trade union and socialist ranks; they made up an army of labour that was strategically placed in terms of their bargaining power and influence – the politics of coal dictated much of politics per se. The position of the miners in the class war sent waves across the broad labour movement. Continue reading “DURHAM MINERS’ GALA – BIG MEETING GETS BIGGER”

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