• Short Summary

    Britain's coal miners decide tomorrow (February 4) whether to go on strike or not. If?

  • Description

    GV Miners leaving pit at end of shift

    BV Miners away from camera

    GV Coedely Colliery

    GVs Pit head scenes at Coedely Colliery (3 shots)

    CU Miner Morgan Jones being interviewed (OVERLA of 1926 scenes of striking miners leaving pit head, miners train arriving, miners handing in lamps and miners maroning)

    GV Power station, Thames in F/G.

    CU Smoke rising from station chimney

    GV PAN ACROSS Coal stocks at station

    GV Army truck with troops enters dock gate

    GV Ships a wharf-side

    SV Troops unloading ship (6 shots)

    MV Shots inside mire as safety officers chsokmins including water seepage (5 shots)

    REPORTER: "What was it like during that strike? What was the morale of the people like?"

    MORGAN JAMES: "Well, to my way of looking at it, now, it was great. But mind, don't forget, in them days it wasn't so much a strike -- it was a lockout. Men were forced to start that strike, afterwards were locked out from work. They couldn't go back to work if they wanted to. Until they signed. And if you had a ...(INDISTINCT) ... in them days, you weren't resigned. You was put.. If a man was out of work, he was out of work... for shouting his m??? off. If he shout his mouth off he never worked in the collieries again."

    If the miners do go out na the worst comes to the worst, it is concovivable that Britain's powers stations could run out of fuel by June. There has been speculation that troops might be called in. The last time this happened was in 1949 when soldiers did the work of striking dockers. One union official is resorted to have said he would urge troops not to cross picket lines at the mines.

    Leaders of britain's coal industry have warned that a strike could produce a backlash. Some mines have to be closed because they've become flooded due to the absence of the ???aily safety checks.

    One almost certain effect of strike would be further reduction in the British working week and enforced power cuts throughout the country. This in turn could lead to further unemployment and aggravate the trade deficit which at present is the worst in Britain's history.

    There is widespread sympathy for the miner' case. The Trades Union Congress, representing all Britain's unions, has urged the miners be treated as special case and has pledged not to exploit this in wage negotiations for other unionists. But the Heath government insists its present offer is more than generous -- despite the fact that the total extra bill to Britain of the minersU demands is only a fraction of the amount a strike might cost the country.

    Initials BB/0104 ???

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Britain's coal miners decide tomorrow (February 4) whether to go on strike or not. If they decide in favour of a strike, as is widely predicted, Britain will be faced with one of its worst-ever industrial crises. In this report, we look at the coal mining industry, interview a veteran miner who talks, about the 1926 strike, recall the last time Britain troops intervened i strike and examine some of the effects if the strike takes place.

    The current dispute goes back to last November when the country's 270,000 miners banned overtime until they received a substantial wage increase. The british Government declared a state of emergency, cut power to industry and businesses by one-quarter and put much of the country on a three-day week to conserve fuel.

    Talks took place between the Government and the mining union. The Government offered whet it claimed was an increase of 16 per cent -- well above the maximum under current wage restrictions - but the miners rejected the offer. When the talks became deadlocked, the union called a strike ballot.

    The last time the miners went on strike wa sin 1972 when they stopped work for seven weeks and finally got the extra money the were asking for. The last miners' strike before that was in 1926 when Britain was convulsed by industrial troubles. Mr. Morgan James, a Welshman who began work as a miner in 1925, remembers the occasion:

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