Miners' strike research guide

The miners' dispute began on 6 March 1984 when the head of the National Coal Board, Ian McGregor, announced plans to cut production, the equivalent of 20 pits or 20,000 jobs. Arthur Scargill, leader of the National Union of Mineworkers, called on miners to strike as they had done successfully in 1972 and 1974.

His refusal to hold a ballot lost him the support of other unions. Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative government refused to be defeated and implemented a plan of action.

Coal was stockpiled and imported and a National Reporting Centre was set up to co-ordinate Britain's regional police force. This allowed officers to be deployed quickly to trouble spots to tackle Scargill's flying pickets, sent all over the country to persuade workers to down tools.

On-off talks between Arthur Scargill and the National Coal Board came to nothing. The pickets failed to stop or even restrict power supplies to the nation. Miners finally returned to work in March 1985.

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