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Author The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Ty Gwyn

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 24/10/2014 12:07:49
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The best programme i have seen on the strike,in that it covers all angles,unlike a lot of the others.

Its mainly in Welsh,but with subtitles.

A statement made in the programme by Scargil shocked me a bit,as i had not heard it before,even though i religiously followed the strike on TV daily,

`` Even if the pit closure plan is lifted,if you think we will go back to work Mr McGregor,you must be living in cloud cuckoo land,the 4 day week,wages,pensions and retirement has not been addressed for 20yrs``

It was the 4 day week that shocked me.

http://www.s4c.co.uk/clic/e_level2.shtml?programme_id=519848592
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 24/10/2014 13:06:55
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The general attitude of the miners in some of the South Wales valleys was truly unrealistic, they thought the two 'cuts' per shift, free coal, free transport and 'wet notes' were some sort of right.
I can still remember a mate showing me the figures for productivity regarding South Wales vs Nottingham, alarming to say the least!

Edit: Interesting bit of video.
IP: 82.26.189.178 Edited: 24/10/2014 13:14:04 by Morlock
Buckhill

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 24/10/2014 17:37:44
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Morlock wrote:


I can still remember a mate showing me the figures for productivity regarding South Wales vs Nottingham, alarming to say the least!

Edit: Interesting bit of video.


Forget the c*** about attitudes and think of the geological differences in the two coalfields you mention. South Wales, Scotland, Cumberland had low productivity not because the men were idle but they spent more time shifting stone to reach the coal, not working flat, unfaulted seams in the English midlands with faces running for years.

20 years ago I worked for an idiot who had that approach - "I've seen the output and manpower figures for (the local pit), and believe me if they think they're getting away with that sort of productivity they can **** off up the road and I'll fetch men in who will work!" Well he did, from the start, and 6 months later he was blaming "unexpected severe geological conditions" for his lack of progress - then he engaged some local lads and in the same conditions they got at least 50% more per shift than his "workers".

If you have no experience of the industry don't denigrate the men who had to work in the coalfields with the worst conditions.
IP: 86.153.86.248
Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 24/10/2014 18:09:45
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Buckhill wrote:

If you have no experience of the industry don't denigrate the men who had to work in the coalfields with the worst conditions.


I don't need any experience of the coal industry to form an opinion of the attitudes of the people I live amongst.

Edit: It was two cuts per shift whatever the current geological conditions!
IP: 86.23.79.216 Edited: 24/10/2014 18:18:30 by Morlock
Ty Gwyn

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 24/10/2014 19:59:33
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To have 2 cuts per shift in most of the South Wales NCB Collieries was good going with the conditions one had to work against,faults,Rolls,bad roof etc,
Comparing South Wales to Notts is chalk and cheese like Buckhill mentioned.
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Buckhill

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 24/10/2014 20:37:31
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Morlock wrote:

Buckhill wrote:

If you have no experience of the industry don't denigrate the men who had to work in the coalfields with the worst conditions.


I don't need any experience of the coal industry to form an opinion of the attitudes of the people I live amongst.

Edit: It was two cuts per shift whatever the current geological conditions!


From that response I can only form an opinion of you! An armchair "expert" who was shown "the figures for productivity regarding South Wales vs Nottingham" and instantly judged from that that the difference was due to idleness on part of the Welsh miners is the politest I can post.

You then, when given the explanation that geological conditions in the coalfields vary considerably - hence the variation in productivity, insult the Welsh further by editing your original posting to claim that they didn't even try if conditions allowed.

How I wish that there were still pits open in the more geologically challenging coalfields and that I could drag you down a few of them to show the idlers how to do it properly. It would be interesting to see how you got on.

As I said earlier I once worked for a Smartassgenius like you who formed the same idiotic opinion about our local miners from reading a manpower and output list and knew how to fix it. He went off after 2 years with his tail between his legs complaining of the bad geology when in reality we had experienced rather better than normal conditions during his time there.

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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 24/10/2014 20:46:41
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I had almost free (on the weekends) access to three pits due to mates who were deputies so I'm aware of the difficult conditions encountered regarding faults and roadways squeezing etc.
IIRC, one of my mates told me the 'power loading agreement' had something to do with the two cuts being the agreed minimum, perhaps a local arrangement?
Bottom line was, very rarely would another cut be taken even when possible.

My original, and obviously unwelcome comment was based solely on what people working at the pits told me.

My comments are in no way to be interpreted as racist.

IP: 86.29.123.119 Edited: 24/10/2014 20:50:50 by Morlock
viewer

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 24/10/2014 20:56:00
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The Miner's Strike, like mineral collecting, never ends well...

--

'Learning the ropes'
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miner1985

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 00:36:48
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Agree Ty Gwyn one the best programs about the strike (and in the language of heaven). Must be nice to judge somebody from the safety of your armchair!! (Must be a politician). I can tell you that getting 2 cuts in some pits required twice the work as getting 4 or 5 cuts in others!!!! If you want to stick to the lie that Welsh miners were lazy then how come pits which had better conditions in Wales cut far more than 2 cuts try having a look at Trelewis Drifts production records.

Nice to visit pits now and again but it doesn't give you a true insight into mining. Politicians often visit war zones but have no real idea of war.
From a non armchair Welsh miner - who has worked on a long wall face which has cut more than 2 cuts. I have the scars and broken bones to prove it (but then again I might have got them from sitting on my #$&£).
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exspelio

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 01:30:23
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miner1985 wrote:

Agree Ty Gwyn one the best programs about the strike (and in the language of heaven). Must be nice to judge somebody from the safety of your armchair!! (Must be a politician). I can tell you that getting 2 cuts in some pits required twice the work as getting 4 or 5 cuts in others!!!! If you want to stick to the lie that Welsh miners were lazy then how come pits which had better conditions in Wales cut far more than 2 cuts try having a look at Trelewis Drifts production records.

Nice to visit pits now and again but it doesn't give you a true insight into mining. Politicians often visit war zones but have no real idea of war.
From a non armchair Welsh miner - who has worked on a long wall face which has cut more than 2 cuts. I have the scars and broken bones to prove it (but then again I might have got them from sitting on my #$&£).


With you all the way on this, I seem to recall an earlier strike, I invested in a bow saw, got permission and harvested a local woodland for fuel, a mate of mine had a van.

--

Always remember, nature is in charge, get it wrong and it is you who suffers!.
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 02:07:07
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miner1985 wrote:

If you want to stick to the lie that Welsh miners were lazy then how come pits which had better conditions in Wales cut far more than 2 cuts try having a look at Trelewis Drifts production records.


I have not suggested Welsh miners were generally lazy!
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Ty Gwyn

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 10:48:50
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The reason i placed this post was not to start an argument about production in different coalfields,whether more cuts of a face was possible or the benefits of concessionary coal,
It was about Scargils statement regarding the 4 day week something i had not heard before or maybe i had forgotten as i was not involved with the strike directly but indirectly through being picketed out of work in a Smallmine.

So if no comments are forthcoming regarding the 4 day week,i will ask the Mods to delete the whole lot rather than cause bitterness.
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RJV

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 11:25:41
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Ty Gwyn wrote:

So if no comments are forthcoming regarding the 4 day week,i will ask the Mods to delete the whole lot rather than cause bitterness.

Even though I was only a ten year old at the time I quite clearly remember two of my mining uncles being far from eye-to-eye on the whole subject. Suppose the chances then of two people agreeing on an internet forum falls somewhere less than zero!

If nobody involved objects I'll leave the first post where it is as it might be of interest and remove the subsequent ones?
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 13:33:09
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I'll make one comment on the 4 day week, definitely a step too far! IP: 86.9.232.88
Ty Gwyn

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 13:58:49
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That was my thought Morlock as a South Wales Collier,and the main reason i have posted virtually the same post on 3 Mining forums,and only here there has been a degree of debate.

RJV,as far as i`m concerned your suggestion is the best,but could you also leave Morlocks last post,as its relevant to the subject,then delete this part of the post.Cheers.
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Lecko

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 13:59:36
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Morlock, how on earth can you form an educated opinion of something you have no experience with???

It's fairly obvious there are some members here who have had experience.
Another point, the "old" power loading agreement ended in the mid 1960's, that was when faceworkers were in essence "contract workers".
When a new face was laid out, the chargehands and lodge Secretary went to examine it, they would then go to the Manager and argue a contract out, ie the "norm", in other words, how much the NCB got before they got paid, which ranged from one shear to four shears. Once the norm was reached, the facemen started earning money.
One thing nobody knew, was what conditions would prevail day to day on the face.
The "New Power Loader" agreement was a fixed wage for EVERY faceworker, including face craftsmen, it was 25 quid a week regardless of how much was cut. A step in the right direction for ALL face workers. Although the fellers on the big earner faces missed their contracts!!
As for bad conditions, the Welsh and Scots lads had those, and comparing one pit to another using OMS figures is like comparing a fish and chop dinner to a five course dinner at a luxury hotel.
One of the reasons Welsh pits were kept open was the quality of the coal compared to some of the crap mined in the Notts pits.
My experience??? Certainly not armchair, served my apprenticeship with the NCB in the 60's and spent most of my working life underground and in the dark.
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Tamarmole

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 15:35:56
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RJV wrote:

Ty Gwyn wrote:

So if no comments are forthcoming regarding the 4 day week,i will ask the Mods to delete the whole lot rather than cause bitterness.

Even though I was only a ten year old at the time I quite clearly remember two of my mining uncles being far from eye-to-eye on the whole subject. Suppose the chances then of two people agreeing on an internet forum falls somewhere less than zero!

If nobody involved objects I'll leave the first post where it is as it might be of interest and remove the subsequent ones?


Well............ I've found the whole thread rather interesting.
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Buckhill

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 15:57:43
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Well said Lecko!

Just one point re the PLA rate - when it came in (1967 wasn't it?) everyone didn't get the same. It was apparently fixed for each Area (and we still had Divisions then) based on the averages for, I think it was, October 1966. The higher productivity Areas (in Notts., Derbyshire in particular) got about 25% more than Scotland, Durham, Cumberland, South Wales, which led to a bit of controversy (i.e. did the low earners work any less diligently for their lesser rate?). It was only resolved with the parity agreement following one of the early '70s strikes when everyone finally got the same rate wherever they were.

As a comment has been requested on the four day week I will offer one. In the '70s undersea pits (in Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, Scotland) were working several miles offshore and had low MATs as a result of the distance travelled to the face (we worked four shifts per day as MAT was just over 5 hours). A suggestion was made (originating in the North East I recall) that 7 day working with each man working four 9 hour shifts - i.e. 36 hours over 4 days instead of 37.5 hours over 5 days be adopted. While some would have jumped at the chance it never got out of the blocks because the first thing asked was "Do we get time and a half for the extra one and a half hours a day and will it be double time if I work on a Sunday?" To those of us already regularly working over 7 days (with no overtime payments or time off in lieu) it seemed a reasonable idea to help secure our futures, but.......
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 16:05:15
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Lecko wrote:

Morlock, how on earth can you form an educated opinion of something you have no experience with???


One of the reasons Welsh pits were kept open was the quality of the coal compared to some of the crap mined in the Notts pits.


I find the defence of certain entrenched positions by means of rude and denigrating comments only re-enforces my comments on attitudes local to my area of residence.

I also believe the main reason for keeping open Welsh pits during a time of falling demand was purely political, i.e. spread the work as done with the numerous nationalized car plants supplying products for assembly to plants many miles away.

The Government was trying to do it's best for everyone except the general taxpayer, the miners strike was purely political as Scargill stated in the video!

Back on topic, I worked a 4 day week, 2 12 hour days and 2 12 hour nights for about 15 years.

Edit: Almost forgot. If I appear ignorant on the Power loading Agreement it was based from info supplied by mining mates from about 1975 onwards. Perhaps they were ignorant of the conditions they worked under?
IP: 86.23.92.134 Edited: 25/10/2014 16:12:26 by Morlock
Lecko

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 16:41:50
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Buckhill wrote:

Well said Lecko!

Just one point re the PLA rate - when it came in (1967 wasn't it?) everyone didn't get the same. It was apparently fixed for each Area (and we still had Divisions then) based on the averages for, I think it was, October 1966. The higher productivity Areas (in Notts., Derbyshire in particular) got about 25% more than Scotland, Durham, Cumberland, South Wales, which led to a bit of controversy (i.e. did the low earners work any less diligently for their lesser rate?). It was only resolved with the parity agreement following one of the early '70s strikes when everyone finally got the same rate wherever they were.

As a comment has been requested on the four day week I will offer one. In the '70s undersea pits (in Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, Scotland) were working several miles offshore and had low MATs as a result of the distance travelled to the face (we worked four shifts per day as MAT was just over 5 hours). A suggestion was made (originating in the North East I recall) that 7 day working with each man working four 9 hour shifts - i.e. 36 hours over 4 days instead of 37.5 hours over 5 days be adopted. While some would have jumped at the chance it never got out of the blocks because the first thing asked was "Do we get time and a half for the extra one and a half hours a day and will it be double time if I work on a Sunday?" To those of us already regularly working over 7 days (with no overtime payments or time off in lieu) it seemed a reasonable idea to help secure our futures, but.......



It was a long while back now, but I'm pretty sure it was a nationwide rate, the first face to operate it at Clifton Colliery was 53's I believe, that left the other two faces on contracts until we closed in 1968..Odd having two different agreements at one pit too!! After November 68 I never took much notice of what went on in the industry, as that was my final year in UK coal industry..I worked in mines I could stand up in... Screw crawling around on low faces. Last coal face I worked on was taking 12-14 feet and producing 48,000 tonnes per five day week.
There is one point missed here, Labour run governments closed the most pits.
Sadly I couldn't watch the TV program on the strike, as I live across the pond these days.
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