Socialist Worker

Inside the system

Issue No. 1

Policeman looks upon a beaten worker and says now thats what I call a peaceful picket

"Now that's what I call a peaceful picket!" (Pic: Tim Sanders)


  • Six bottles of wine, tastefully packaged in green and gold boxes, are currently languishing in a Harrods warehouse in London. 
    They are a gift from the Institute of Marketing to Coal Board boss Ian MacGregor. Sadly, Ian MacGregor is to be found at the National Coal Board’s headquarters in Hobart House. 
    And, because of the miners’ strike, Hobart House has a picket line on it, which the drivers from Harrods are refusing to cross. So MacGregor will have to wait until the end of the strike for his rather expensive present.

  • Margaret Thatcher told Labour spokesman on social security, Michael Meacher, that no instructions regarding miners’ social security benefits had been issued by the government. In fact at least two cases of such interference have come to light recently. 
    The assistant manageress of Wakefield DHSS was told not to allow mining apprentices to claim unemployment benefit. A DHSS office in Blackpool told a miner who applied for family income supplement, ‘We are being instructed to include miners’ earnings from before the strike.’

  • A secret hit list of Scottish pits was ­discovered by striking miners who occupied the Scottish Coal Board’s headquarters in Edinburgh on Monday. The confidential document reveals that four pits are scheduled for closure within two years.
    They are Monktonhall, Seafield, Barony and Comrie. 
    The Coal Board also plans to run down the Cowdenbeath workshops to 60 men by June 1986, and to push through 500 redundancies at Bilston Glen pit by 1987. The 20 miners who discovered the details were occupying the NCB headquarters in protest at the board’s refusal to hand over outstanding holiday pay.

  • ‘A nuclear power programme would have the advantage of removing a substantial portion of electricity production from the dangers of disruption by industrial action by coal miners or transport workers.’ A leaked cabinet document shows the Tories real interests in developing nuclear power.

  • The Tories are spending more on busting the miners’ strike than they did on sending the task force to the ­Falklands. Stockbrokers Simon and Coates estimate that the miners’ strike is costing the government £70 million a week. 
    This includes the costs to the Central Electricity Generating Board of replacing coal with oil in its power stations, losses to the Coal Board and British Rail, lost tax and the payments of social security benefits. In addition there is the cost of the massive police operation. It has been excluded from Simon and Coates’ calculations, which makes their estimate of £840 million so far look on the low side.

 


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