Socialist Worker

Miners’ Strike timeline

Issue No. 2142

Miners confront the police at Orgreave (Pic: John Sturrock)

Miners confront the police at Orgreave (Pic: John Sturrock)


  • 1 March
    National Coal Board (NCB) announces closure of Cortonwood pit in Yorkshire – miners at the pit walk out
  • 6 March
    Scottish and Yorkshire areas of the NUM make strike official
  • 12 March
    Half the country’s miners are on strike – this rises to over 80 percent over the course of the strike
  • 15 March
    David Jones, miner aged 23, killed while picketing in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire
  • 29 March
    Transport unions ban the movement of coal
  • 19 April
    NUM special conference ratifies strike action
  • 25 April
    Yorkshire miners’ leader Jack Taylor does deal with the ISTC steel union to allow 30,000 tons of steel a week to be produced at Scunthorpe works
  • 3 May
    British Steel use heavy lorries to break picket lines
  • 12 May
    Scottish miners’ leader Mick McGahey agrees to allow normal steel production at Ravenscraig
  • 14 May
    Some 40,000 striking miners march in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
  • 23 May
    The Aslef and NUR rail unions settle their pay dispute, preventing them striking alongside the miners
  • 25 May
    Scab “working miner” groups emerge with government and business backing
  • 30 May
    Scargill arrested at Orgreave. More than 80 other miners arrested and 62 injured
  • 15 June
    Joe Green, a miner, is crushed to death while picketing at Ferry Bridge power station
  • 18 June
    Second mass picket at Orgreave with 5,000 miners. Official figures show more pickets injured than police for first time. Scargill hospitalised
  • 27 June
    TUC day of action. Some 50 schools take unofficial strike action and over 50,000 people march for the miners
  • 9 July
    Dock strike starts against movement of coal.It is called off after ten days
  • 14 July
    25,000 attend Durham Miners’ Gala
  • 31 July
    High Court fines South Wales NUM £50,000 under anti-union laws – the first time the union is fined under the laws. Labour leader Neil Kinnock says, “The courts will have their way.”
  • 23 August
    Second national dock strike over unloading of coal, lasts over three weeks
  • 3 September
    TUC votes to support miners. This support never materialises
  • 28 September
    Members of Nacods, the pit deputies’ union, vote by 82.5 percent for strike
  • 24 October
    Nacods pit deputies’ leaders call off strike
  • 26 October
    High Court orders the sequestration (seizure) of NUM funds
  • 2 November
    NCB offers miners a back to work cash bonus
  • 5 November
    Neil Kinnock refuses to speak at a series of rallies with Scargill
  • 21 November
    Government cuts supplementary benefits to £16 per week for strikers’ families
  • 30 November
    Courts appoint Herbert Brewer, a Tory Party official, as the receiver to control NUM assets and funds
  • 5 December
    Ian MacGregor announces plans to privatise pits
  • 7 December
    TUC says it will not take action in support of NUM


  • 7 January
    NCB claim 1,200 miners return to work across country
  • 24 February
    Mass rally in London for the miners sees many arrests
  • 28 February
    NCB head Ian MacGregor pledges that sacked miners will not be re-employed
  • 2 March
    Yorkshire votes to continue strike
  • 3 March
    NUM conference votes 98 to 91 to return to work
  • 5 March
    Miners march back to work. All of Scargill’s predictions about pit closure plans are proven correct in years to come

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