Socialist Worker

Life without the union

Issue No. 1

Sixteen scabs at Bentley colliery went on strike last week and asked for union representation.

The men, all underground workers, were ordered to clean the coal board’s transit vans.

Management decided to pay the men surface rates, a considerable drop in their pay. The scabs went on strike and asked their union chairman to negotiate with management.

‘I went to the pit hoping to get a chance to talk to the men and encourage them to rejoin the strike,’ said Jock Nimmo, the branch chairman. ‘I was alone and the police refused to let me enter the colliery.

‘Next day I returned with a witness. The police allowed me to enter the colliery but a riot van was parked inside the gate and there was no way I was willing to walk past it.’

The scabs now had a taste of life without the union, and Bentley NUM say there are several who would like to come back on strike.

(2 March, 1985)

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