Britain's coal miners decide tomorrow (February 4) whether to go on strike or not. If?
Britain's coal miners decide tomorrow (February 4) whether to go on strike or not. If they decide in favour of a strike, as is widely predicted, Britain will be faced with one of its worst-ever industrial crises. In this report, we look at the coal mining industry, interview a veteran miner who talks, about the 1926 strike, recall the last time Britain troops intervened i strike and examine some of the effects if the strike takes place.
The current dispute goes back to last November when the country's 270,000 miners banned overtime until they received a substantial wage increase. The british Government declared a state of emergency, cut power to industry and businesses by one-quarter and put much of the country on a three-day week to conserve fuel.
Talks took place between the Government and the mining union. The Government offered whet it claimed was an increase of 16 per cent -- well above the maximum under current wage restrictions - but the miners rejected the offer. When the talks became deadlocked, the union called a strike ballot.
The last time the miners went on strike wa sin 1972 when they stopped work for seven weeks and finally got the extra money the were asking for. The last miners' strike before that was in 1926 when Britain was convulsed by industrial troubles. Mr. Morgan James, a Welshman who began work as a miner in 1925, remembers the occasion: