Letter: Facts behind the strike by one who was there

By READER | 07/02/2017

Letter: Facts behind the strike by one who was there

IN response to Clive Phillips’ address withheld letter, Thatcher closed pits because of political dogma, pits closed by Wilson were worked out or ‘clapped out’.

I worked for 20 years at New Stubbin Pit and have experienced a pit closure in 1978, where we tried for more than ten years to work a thinning seam of coal on the South Side.

In 1976 about 30 miners were taken to Cortonwood Pit on a visit to show us the future plans, and persuade us to transfer there when Stubbin closed. The plan revealed to us was 25 years of work at present production. Mrs Davies who did the presentation pointed to me saying I could retire by the time these working were completed. This pit had been economical all its working life, the rest is history.

We tried for a year to reverse the decision and failed. On day one of the strike having transferred to Kilnhurst Pit, eight of us in two cars travelled to Sutton Pit in Notts to form a picket line, two gates, four men to each gate. Before we got organised three police vans arrived full of coppers who surrounded us and herded us against the wall.

We had documentation proving who we were. The flat cap with brown gloves in charge was not interested, and when I protested we were peaceful pickets. His instructions to us was breathe, do not move or talk or we would be arrested. None of these coppers had numbers on their uniform, and when I asked for his number and rank, he prodded me with his stick and told us to shut up.

The Sutton miners all walked past us with their heads bowed in shame and not one asked why we were surrounded. We reported our problems in the South Yorkshire panel, most miners who had been to Notts told the same story, so we voted never to be out numbered again, thus the mass pickets.

We also reported the actions of the police to the relevant authorities, never got a response! Clive always quotes in his letters, if Germany had won the House of Windsor would still be the head of state.

Clive, these are the facts! I was there; no hearsay, innuendos, just the facts.

Tony Reeder, address supplied