BBC Home > BBC News > England

Scargill predicts mining future

20 April 09 09:47 GMT

Former NUM leader Arthur Scargill has said there is a long-term future for coal mining in the UK.

Mr Scargill made the comment while speaking in Nottinghamshire at one of a number of events to mark the 25th anniversary of the miners' strike.

About 500 people packed Hucknall Leisure Centre on Saturday to hear the former union leader speak.

He said that coal provided the energy security the country needed for centuries to come.

"I believe that the miners in Britain can look forward to a developing and expanding coal industry," Mr Scargill said.

"If they don't the future will be bleak.

"If there is an expanding and developing coal industry the future, not just for miners but far more important for the people of Britain, can be exciting.

'Unforgiveable sin'

"It can be extremely economic and it can give us all the power that we need, all the energy that we need, all the oil that we need, all the gas that we need for over a thousand years.

"That really is the lesson of the 1984/5 miners strike."

Mr Scargill also said he would never forgive the men who worked through the strike.

The controversial NUM leader led the decision to strike over pit closures in 1984 - splitting communities, and eventually resulting in the formation of the Nottinghamshire-based Union of Democratic Mineworkers.

He said: "I would say to all those miners who went through picket lines and who committed the unforgiveable sin and broke the 11th commandment, that history will never forgive them and never forget them.

"Their role in this is one of treachery and I heard one of those who formed a breakaway say on television the other week that his father never spoke to him again because he broke the strike and because he crossed the picket lines."

Related BBC sites