Socialist Worker

Miners’ Strike timeline

Issue No. 2142

Miners confront the police at Orgreave (Pic: John Sturrock)

Miners confront the police at Orgreave (Pic: John Sturrock)


  • 1 March
    National Coal Board (NCB) announces closure of Cortonwood pit in Yorkshire – miners at the pit walk out
  • 6 March
    Scottish and Yorkshire areas of the NUM make strike official
  • 12 March
    Half the country’s miners are on strike – this rises to over 80 percent over the course of the strike
  • 15 March
    David Jones, miner aged 23, killed while picketing in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire
  • 29 March
    Transport unions ban the movement of coal
  • 19 April
    NUM special conference ratifies strike action
  • 25 April
    Yorkshire miners’ leader Jack Taylor does deal with the ISTC steel union to allow 30,000 tons of steel a week to be produced at Scunthorpe works
  • 3 May
    British Steel use heavy lorries to break picket lines
  • 12 May
    Scottish miners’ leader Mick McGahey agrees to allow normal steel production at Ravenscraig
  • 14 May
    Some 40,000 striking miners march in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
  • 23 May
    The Aslef and NUR rail unions settle their pay dispute, preventing them striking alongside the miners
  • 25 May
    Scab “working miner” groups emerge with government and business backing
  • 30 May
    Scargill arrested at Orgreave. More than 80 other miners arrested and 62 injured
  • 15 June
    Joe Green, a miner, is crushed to death while picketing at Ferry Bridge power station
  • 18 June
    Second mass picket at Orgreave with 5,000 miners. Official figures show more pickets injured than police for first time. Scargill hospitalised
  • 27 June
    TUC day of action. Some 50 schools take unofficial strike action and over 50,000 people march for the miners
  • 9 July
    Dock strike starts against movement of coal.It is called off after ten days
  • 14 July
    25,000 attend Durham Miners’ Gala
  • 31 July
    High Court fines South Wales NUM £50,000 under anti-union laws – the first time the union is fined under the laws. Labour leader Neil Kinnock says, “The courts will have their way.”
  • 23 August
    Second national dock strike over unloading of coal, lasts over three weeks
  • 3 September
    TUC votes to support miners. This support never materialises
  • 28 September
    Members of Nacods, the pit deputies’ union, vote by 82.5 percent for strike
  • 24 October
    Nacods pit deputies’ leaders call off strike
  • 26 October
    High Court orders the sequestration (seizure) of NUM funds
  • 2 November
    NCB offers miners a back to work cash bonus
  • 5 November
    Neil Kinnock refuses to speak at a series of rallies with Scargill
  • 21 November
    Government cuts supplementary benefits to £16 per week for strikers’ families
  • 30 November
    Courts appoint Herbert Brewer, a Tory Party official, as the receiver to control NUM assets and funds
  • 5 December
    Ian MacGregor announces plans to privatise pits
  • 7 December
    TUC says it will not take action in support of NUM


  • 7 January
    NCB claim 1,200 miners return to work across country
  • 24 February
    Mass rally in London for the miners sees many arrests
  • 28 February
    NCB head Ian MacGregor pledges that sacked miners will not be re-employed
  • 2 March
    Yorkshire votes to continue strike
  • 3 March
    NUM conference votes 98 to 91 to return to work
  • 5 March
    Miners march back to work. All of Scargill’s predictions about pit closure plans are proven correct in years to come

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.