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Chronology Of Major Events In British Coal Miners’ Strike With AM-British Miners, Bjt

March 3, 1985 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ Britain’s coal strike began March 12, 1984, to protest management plans to close money-losing mines. It followed a 41/2 -month ban on overtime imposed over a pay dispute.

Following is a chronology of the longest strike in British history:


March 5 - Britain’s biggest coal region, Yorkshire, calls a county-wide strike starting March 12 after the National Coal Board announces the imminent closure of two mines.

March 6 - The Coal Board announces a 4-million metric ton (4.4 million long ton) production cut to 97.4 million metric tons (107.1 million long tons) in 1984. It acknowledges this means closing about 20 money-losing mines, out of its 174 total, and shedding 20,000 jobs by attrition.

Scottish union leaders order the region’s 14,500 miners to join the Yorkshire walkout.

March 8 - The National Union of Mineworkers backs Scotland and Yorkshire and says it will endorse strikes by any other regions.

March 9 - South Wales, Durham and Kent announce strikes.

March 12 - The strike starts, idling half of Britain’s mines. Police reinforcements are rushed to Nottinghamshire as pickets from northern England besiege the profitable central England coal county which refuses to strike.

March 14 - The strike spreads and three-fourths of Britain’s mines are idle. Nottinghamshire, the second-biggest coal county, works on.

March 17 - Police take over two army bases in Nottinghamshire, and 8,000 officers are drafted in to mining regions as picket line violence grows worse. It continues through most of the year.

April 12 - Miners’ leader Arthur Scargill rules out a strike authorization ballot stipulated by union rules. He argues the strike was authorized regionally.

May 23 - First peace talks with the Coal Board collapse after 70 minutes.

July 9 - A dock strike starts in protest at non-union labor offloading iron ore for a blockaded steel plant.

July 21 - The dock strike is called off.

Aug. 23 - A second dock strike begins over the unloading of foreign coal for a Scottish steel mill.

Sept. 3 - The Trades Union Congress, Britain’s 10 million-member national labor federation, pledges ″total support″ and urges workers not to take fuel supplies across miners’ picket lines. But key power unions say they’ll never black out Britain for the miners.


Sept. 18 - The second dock strike is called off.

Oct. 10 - The National Union of Mineworkers is fined 200,000 pounds (then $246,000) for contempt for ignoring a High Court ruling that the strike is illegal in two counties because no ballot was called. The union refuses to pay or apologize.

Oct. 24 - In a key break for the government, the 17,000 mine foremen call off a threatened strike which would have closed every mine. They accept a new deal establishing an independent review body on mine closures but leaving the final say with the board.

Oct. 25 - A High Court judge orders seizure of the National Union of Mineworkers’ $10.7 million assets.

Oct. 31 - A seventh round of peace talks collapses. The Coal Board says there’s no hope of a settlement and launches a drive to lure back miners.

Nov. 12 - In what police call the worst violence of the strike, 54 people are injured in widely scattered picket-line clashes as militant strikers try to stop the flow of men breaking the strike.

Nov. 30 - A taxi driver taking a South Wales miner to work is killed by a concrete slab hurled through his cab’s windshield. Strikers are charged with the killing.


Jan. 25 - The Coal Board says more than 77,000 miners, or 41 percent of the union’s 186,000 members, are back at work and more are returning at the rate of 2,500 a week. Scargill offers to negotiate ″without preconditions.″

Feb. 18 - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher meets a Trades Union Congress delegation trying to arrange a settlement.

Feb. 22 - The union rejects the Trades Union Congress deal because it leaves the Coal Board with the final say over mine closures. The Conservative government says it’s made its last offer.

Feb. 27 - The Coal Board announces half the miners are back at work and Energy Secretary Peter Walker declares, ″The strike is over.″

March 3 - The union’s national delegate conference decides the fate of the strike.