England: New Film Hears Voices From Miners' Strike
March 3, 2020 - A film to mark the 35th anniversary of the end of the Miners' Strike is using new interviews with miners and their families.
The year-long dispute saw the National Union of Mineworkers take on the government in 1984 over pit closures.
Thousands of miners and police clashed and the union itself was split between workers and strikers.
John Dunn, who walked out of Markham Colliery in Derbyshire, said: "I would do it again tomorrow".
The group behind the film said it was worried about memories of the strike disappearing
The strike spilt communities as well as provoking a strong division between strikers and police
The film was commissioned by the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC), which campaigns for a inquiry into police actions outside a coking works in Yorkshire.
Joe Rollin, of the OTJC, said: "We were worried that we could lose stories and memories about the strike, so we wanted to capture real stories on camera.
"We hope it will also be used as an education tool for youngsters today."
Dunn was a strong supporter of the strike and features in the film.
One ex-miner described pit towns as being left "dead on their feet"
He said: "I would do it again tomorrow if I had to because it was a fight worth taking.
"We should keep the memories of what real trade unionism is about, not just giving out diaries or arranging cheap insurance, but about a struggle by organized labor for a just cause.
"We have been written out of history.
"The strike wasn't just about Arthur Scargill or Margaret Thatcher, it was about a way of life.
"Our communities are now just about dead on their feet."
The strike started in Yorkshire in March 1984 over plans to close 20 pits. Union leaders correctly claimed it was the start of a wider programme of closures of unprofitable collieries.
But the strike was split by a decision not to hold a national ballot.
Financial hardship forced many strikers back to work and acrimony lingers in some communities.
The NUM voted to end the strike on March 3, 1985 but the coal industry was sharp decline, with the last deep mine closing in 2015.