Socialist Worker

TUC get off your knees - Defend the miners' union

Issue No. 1

Miners and supporters protest in London during a south east region day of action

Miners and supporters protest in London during a south east region day of action (Pic: John Sturrock)


The NUM is facing an attack on union rights more serious than anything we have seen in a lifetime. Never before have our rulers had the nerve to hand over a trade union lock, stock and barrel to a Tory lawyer.

Yet this is what has happened with the replacement of the elected officials of the NUM by a court appointee - Herbert Brewer. He is a Tory Party member and leading figure in the Institute of Directors. As 'receiver' he is now in charge of the NUM's funds.

He is claiming something which the elected officials of the NUM have never done. While knocking on the door of a Luxembourg bank in an attempt to nick £4 million of the miners' money he stated, 'I am the NUM'.

With the slowing down of the back-to-work movement the Tories are putting more and more faith in the courts. Their judges are making up laws so as to put the unions into a position where it cannot continue the strike.

Over two thirds of the miners are still on strike. Yet the courts have declared that the NUM cannot continue to function.

The union has been forbidden by the courts to call the strike official, to spend money on backing its striking members, or to do anything to counter the Coal Board's back-to-work pressure.

The court is demanding the union 'purge its contempt' before it can have its funds back. This would mean abandoning the strike.

Unless the whole labour movement acts now to support the miners then no union in Britain will be safe.

(7 December, 1984)


Coal was moved from Bolt pit in the Lancashire coalfield at the end of last week. This was almost certainly an attempt to test the ability of the coal board to move stocks from strike-bound pits.

Unfortunately they hired a unionised firm. By the beginning of this week the operation had been stopped.

(7 December, 1984) 


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