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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 15:49 GMT
Breakaway union faces picket breaches
Actors re-create the strikes of 1984
The strikes of 1984 became violent
History will play in reverse on Friday when the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) stages its first strike.

The UDM was formed to "break" the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike of 1984, with its members crossing NUM picket lines.

But when the UDM members walk out this week, they face the likelihood of their NUM colleagues crossing their picket lines.

The UDM has voted to stage 18 one-day strikes because it believes privately-owned UK Coal is planning widespread compulsory redundancies.

1984 strike facts
Strike, sparked by plans to close pits, starts March 1984
Strike duration 358 days
14 people died
93 arrested at Orgreave
Strike ends March 1985
UK Coal denies it has such plans.

UDM workers will walk out of five coal pits on Friday - at Horesby Colliery, Welbeck, Clipstone and Harworth.

This will leave members of the NUM, which make up about a third of the pits' workforce, with decisions about crossing the lines.

The NUM's general secretary in Nottingham, Keith Stanley, said current workplace laws meant non-UDM miners had no right to strike because they had not been balloted.

Individual choice

"They could be disciplined or sacked (for joining strikers).

"It is up to each individual what they do in this case."


The issues over which they are walking out are the very same issues we walked out over in 1984

Keith Stanley
The NUM is not offering advice to its members because the issue had not been subject of a vote, he said.

The NUM has delayed a ballot on strike action because it is still in talks with UK Coal.

Mr Stanley said NUM members had commented on the irony of the UDM strike.

"Lots of people have been saying 'Where were these guys 18 and half years ago?'

"The issues over which they are walking out are the very same issues we walked out over in 1984."

'Phased closure'

UK Coal said it had assured the UDM it had no plans for compulsory redundancies except in "phased closure situations" at Clipstone Colliery, near Mansfield, which is due to stop production early in the New Year.

A spokesman for UK Coal said: "If there are redundancies the objective will be to achieve them through voluntary means.

"This is a strike looking for a cause."

But the UDM president Neil Greatrex said: "Our lads have got to the points where they don't believe anything they say."


Click here to go to Nottingham
See also:

12 Nov 02 | England
05 Nov 02 | UK
30 Oct 01 | England
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