Were the pit closures inevitable?

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
wojtek
Offline
Joined: 8-01-11
Apr 7 2012 02:11
Were the pit closures inevitable?

I've just read Steve Catterall's essay The Lancashire Coalfield 1945-1972: NUM-Labour Party Hegemony and Industrial Change on the relationship between Labour and NUM Lancashire Area (NUMLA) and how prior to the Conservatives, they screwed over Lancastrian miners in the name of 'modernisation' through pit closures and the like. Was industrial change and the relegation of coal necessary though? My knowledge amounts to the fact that Margaret Thatcher promoted other resources in order to undermine the NUM...

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Apr 8 2012 16:02

First off thanks for providing this link which I will gety round to reading in the near future and maybe comment on it then.

Big question - of course pits do become physically exhausted and have to be abandoned at some point and more relevantly many British pits became 'uneconomic' in terms of international competition and the availabillity of other alternative energy resources. All capitalists and their government of any pursuasion will continually try to get more out of the miners by way of 'modernisation' and 'rationalisation' leading to some pit closures and the NUM and it's predesessors have generally co-operated with that process..

But on one point I would say that 'Thatchers' defeat of the miners and the extent of subsequent devastation of the industry was by no means inevitable at the time.

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Apr 12 2012 13:25

Good to see this text now in the library, further reminds us of the role of both unions and the Labour party in their common assumptions and aspirations in the modernisation and attempted stabilisation of capitalism alongside the self seaking ambititions of individuals from both the right and left wings of that alliance.

Some of those older divisions can be traced forward to the events during the great miners strike under Scargill's and Thatchers reign when the then already reduced Lancs miners divided over the strike and the militants organisation became centred around the Bold Miners welfare club, with the Bolton Headquarters ending up occupied by militant strikers for a period. Agecroft the most modern of the collieries was the centre of a number of mass pickets with the combined forces of both Lancs and Yorks miners as I recall.

In that strike all workers willing to join in the struggle were welcome by rank and file miners on side (even us 'anti-union' types) in what became obvious was a class war and not just a trade union dispute.