Britain's coal miners today (Friday, 8 February) spurned an appeal from Prime Minster Eduard Heath for an election truce, and decided to go ahead with an nationwide strike from midnight on Saturday (9 February).
SV PAN Miners leave pit, PAN up to pit-head wheel
SV (Interior) miners in lamp room
SV (INT) Miners hang up lamps
SV (EXTERIOR) miners queue for pay
CU (EXT) Miners receive pay
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Background: Britain's coal miners today (Friday, 8 February) spurned an appeal from Prime Minster Eduard Heath for an election truce, and decided to go ahead with an nationwide strike from midnight on Saturday (9 February).
The 27-man Executive Committee of the Mineworkers Union took an almost unanimous vote on the strike decision, over-riding an appeal from the Union President, Mr. Joe Gormley, who favoured calling off the strike until after the elections.
The decision means that the nation's 270,000 coalminers will stop work as campaigning begins for what looks like being the toughest election in decades.
Mr. Heath issued an appeal for an election truce to the miners on Thursday (7 February) when he set 28 February as the election date.
The impending strike and the miners' earlier overtime ban, which cut heavily into fuel reserves, played a key part in including Mr. Heath to call the election.
The miners' strike will leave British power stations with an estimated five weeks supply of coal at present rates of consumption. Transport and rail unions have been urged by the miners not to deliver coal or oil to power stations during the strike.
As a result, the general election could be fought out against a background of electrical power cuts, further embittering the contest.