THE MINERS' STRIKE
|Whatever happened to the men who
lost their jobs?
This year marks the 20th anniversary
of the 1984 Miners' Strike, the longest
industrial dispute of the 20th Century.
Inside Out looks at what happened to the miners who lost their jobs.
The Miners' Strike was one of the hardest fought industrial
disputes in British history.
Its battlegrounds were the old mining areas including
the Notts and Derbyshire coalfields. Thousands of miners came out in protest
against proposed pit closures and job losses.
Inside Out looks back at the key events of the strike,
and investigates what happened to the miners when the East Midland pits
The Miners' Strike marked the beginning of the end for
Britain's coal industry.
|The end of
an industry - the pits come tumbling down
Once an important part of the economy, coal was no longer
a force to be reckoned with.
After the Second World War coal had been king in the
Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire coalfields.
Whole communities were built on the black stuff, and
the area's many pit villages were renowned for their close-knit spirit.
Before the Miners' Strike, the East Midlands boasted
around 30 working mines.
Just a few years later most of those mines had closed
with the loss of tens of thousands of mining jobs.
Today, only three mines remain - all in Nottinghamshire.
So where did it all go wrong, and what happened to the
miners who lost their jobs?
The 1984 Strike
STRIKE FACT FILE
9 January - 25 February, 1972 -
Major miners' strike.
12 March, 1984 - Miners strike over threatened pit closures.
15 March, 1984 - Flying picket dies
outside Ollerton colliery.
9 April, 1984 - Dozens of miners arrested in picket line violence
29 May, 1984 - Major clash between police and miners at Orgreave.
3 March, 1985 - The NUM executive narrowly vote for a return to
2002 - Arthur Scargill retires as
The 1984 Miners' Strike was a last attempt by the mining
unions to stop mining closures and the loss of jobs.
In March 1984 more than 187,000 miners came out on strike
when the National Coal Board announced that 20 pits in England would have
to close with the loss of 20,000 jobs.
It was the start of one of the most confrontational strikes
ever seen, marred by picket line violence and clashes between police and
Miners in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire
eventually came out on strike.
But some miners continued to work and were branded as
"scabs" by their colleagues when they crossed picket lines.
The Government branded the striking miners as "the
When the strike ended 12 months later, it was estimated
that the total cost had been £3 billion.
Over 11,000 people had been arrested, and around 5,000
miners stood trial for a variety of offences.
Many of the threatened closures took place in 1992.
Mining communities throughout the country were scarred,
and many never fully recovered.
It was the end of the industry that had once been the backbone of industrial
Collapse of an industry
In 1984 there were 170 collieries in Britain, employing
more than 190,000 people.
|When coal was
king - the pithead was once a familiar landmark in the Midlands
Today there are fewer than 20 collieries, employing a
workforce of around 5,000.
There is no official record of what happened to the thousands
of miners who were forced to leave the industry over the last 20 years.
However a 1994 study by the Coalfield Communities Campaign,
based on a survey of 900 ex-miners, painted a depressing picture.
It found that more than 50% of ex-miners were still out
of work more than a year after leaving the pit.
Some of the miners were on retraining schemes, but the majority were unemployed.
Of those who were working, almost half had taken pay cuts.
Inside Out decided to look at whether the situation had
improved 20 years on.
A new life for ex-miners
Many of the East Midland's miners
have adjusted to new lives following the collapse of the industry.
Inside Out followed four of ex-miners, and found that their lives are
very different today.
has forged a new life as a diving instructor
Former miner Andy Boyles is back in the community, working
as a primary school teacher.
When Andy left the coalface, he retrained for the chalkface.
Seven years on, he's a teacher at Heatherly Primary School.
Another miner Chris Craven has swapped being underground
for being underwater.
He now works as a diving instructor in an exclusive Turkish hoilday resort.
Alan Craig has moved even further away... he's planning
a fresh start down under and has emigrated to Australia.
A fresh start
Martin Newbury is proof of how many miners have turned
their hand to new trades.
ground a world away from the pit
He's putting something back into the community, working
out of doors training workers with learning difficulties.
Martin is happy to be working above ground, and recalls
the difficult conditions underground when he worked as a miner.
"Working here in the fresh air is so much better,"
"Conditions in the pit were awful. I feel healthier
(working) in the fresh air."
There's no doubt that working down the pit was a tough
life with conditions underground being difficult.
Although the men don't miss the conditions in the pit,
they do feel nostalgic for the close-knit community that it engendered.
Alan Craig sums it up, "Thirty-three years of sheer
enjoyment. At the end of the day, they can't take memories away... they'll
never do that."
The scars of the Miners' Strike remain deep ones, but
at least some of the men who once went underground have now found new
lives above ground.