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Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 15:31 UK
The Miners' Strike in Scotland
Miners clash at Bilston Glen. Photo courtesy of The Daily Record
Miners clash at Bilston Glen

The Miners' strike in Scotland began at Polmaise Colliery in Stirlingshire.

This arose from a decision made by the National Coal Board in January 1984 to close Polmaise due to geological faults in the pit and a lack of a market for Polmaise coal.

The most bitter clashes in Scotland happened at Bilston Glen Colliery outside Edinburgh.

The steelworks at Ravenscraig were also a flash-point for dispute.

1985 Bogside, Frances and Polkemmet
1986 Comrie and Killoch
1988 Seafield
1989 Barony, Bilston Glen and Monktonhall
2002 Longannet complex (including Bogside, Castlebridge, Castlehill, Solsgirth and Longannet)

The strike at Polmaise was not immediately followed by strikes at other pits in Scotland. At this point the National Union of Mineworkers in Scotland failed to win a majority vote in support of a strike across all Scottish pits.

An official strike was called at Polmaise on February 21 1984. The Polmaise miners tried to persuade others to join the strike across Scotland.

Violent clashes

The strike across the UK began on 9 March 1984 after an announcement by the NCB that they would close uneconomic pits across the UK and bring production in line with demand.

The National Union of Mineworkers did not call a strike ballot for this, leading to some miners continuing to work as they declared the strike was illegal without a ballot.

This led to violent clashes on the picket line as communities and trade unionists were divided.

Some miners at Polkemmet, Killoch, Barony and Bilston Glen Collieries continued to report for work.

Across Britain, a week into the strike, two-thirds of miners were on strike.

The most bitter clashes in Scotland happened at Bilston Glen Colliery outside Edinburgh with flying pickets trying to persuade those still working at Bilston Glen to take strike action.

Ravenscraig too saw bitter clashes. Striking miners were determined to halt the transportation of coal to the Ravenscraig steelworks and by doing so halt steel production at the plant.

They were hopeful of the steel workers joining them in the strike but the steel workers union did not call for this to happen leading to picket line violence at Ravenscraig.

The strike was one of most bitter that Britain had seen. Almost a year later, on 3 March 1985, miners voted 98 to 91 to end the strike without reaching agreement with the NCB over pit closures. The strike officially ended on 5 March 1985.

Today there are no working deep mines in Scotland.

A Fife miner remembers the strike
13 Oct 09 |  History
Slideshow: The miners' strike
05 Mar 04 |  UK



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