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Events mark 30th anniversary of miners' strike

By SWEPnino  |  Posted: March 06, 2014

Tyrone O'Sullivan

Comments (8)

It changed the face of the south Wales valleys forever - and scars still remain.

And tomorrow night,the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike will be marked by events in the Swansea and Upper Dulais Valleys.

Miners’ champion, and former secretary of the Tower Lodge NUM, Tyrone O’Sullivan, who helped lead the fight against the closure of the region’s mines, said 240,000 mining jobs were lost in the five years after the strike.

He added: “The real tragedy is that many never ever worked again.”

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Mr O’Sullivan will be at an event held at Godregraig Workingmens’ Club to mark the event, where he will be joined by MPs Peter Hain and Sian James - whose husband was then a working minder - and Gwenda Thomas AM, as well as former South Wales NUM vice president Terry Thomas.

Cor Y Gyrlais, and Huw Parkman, provide entertainment.

Wayne Thomas, general secretary

NUM South Wales said: “There are many events commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Miners’ Strike taking place throughout the UK.

“I am sure that this event in the Swansea Valley will attract many people who have vivid memories of that difficult period.

“Our communities came together during that difficult time, as they did with other tragic events more recently. Hopefully, we will see the community come together for this event as well”.

In the Dulais Valley, Swansea Women’s History Group will screen a documentary made by members during the year-long struggle.

The film, Smiling and Splendid Women, features the experiences of women’s support groups from the Swansea, Neath and Dulais Valley.

It will be introduced by two of the film makers, Gail Allen, now a trustee of Women’s Aid, and Jen Wilson, who became founder of Jazz Heritage Wales.

Ursula Masson, the group’s inspirational leader, died in 2008.

Clips from the video were featured in the new Manic Street Preachers video Anthem for a lost Cause.

The screening takes place at Dove Workshop in Banwen, from 6pm.

Read more from South Wales Evening Post

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  • Neathboy234  |  March 09 2014, 2:21PM

    Zoomer You would have thought after the sacking of Derek Robinson that BL and it's various names changes would have been able to turn itself around, sadly the management at the firm was totally inept, confirming exactly what Mr Robinson had to say about them. The government were also to blame in their loony idea of turning the company into a luxury manufacturer. Derek Robinson pointed out in the mid 80's after he'd left the firm that for it to survive it would have to remain a mass producer. Sadly he was again proven to be correct with the eventually death of the firm. Meanwhile a firm which was the same size as BL in the early 70's now makes almost 10 million cars a year under the ownership of the VW Group, with a turnover of 197 billion euros last year, employing directly just under 600,000 world wide and millions more indirectly. Just goes to show what incompetent management can do, and of course nowhere in Europe has stronger unions than Germany, or better management for that fact

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  • Zoomer  |  March 07 2014, 4:34PM

    Neathboy234 Red Robbo was the "icon" of all that was wrong in the Trade Union movement. "Everybody out", at the drop of a hat ! The governments of the time, encouraged BL to grow bigger and bigger into a huge corporate monster. Whilst perhaps some of the managers had little vision, I well remember when BL stopped production of the MG Midget and Austin Healy Sprite- I even had a two year old A H Sprite myself. These sports cars were dollar earners, that needed updating, but were neglected, with the result that the Mazda MX 5 took over the crown. The Government brought in a South African Chief Executive, his name escapes me, to shake up BL, but the Unions put obstacles in his way at every opportunity. I believe that every worker should have the right to join a Trade Union, and I also believe that every worker should have the right NOT to join a Trade Union, if the Union cannot "sell itself" as a good deal to be involved with. Many Trade Unions at that time insisted that their workplaces were to be a "closed shop". I once worked in a newspaper where there was a closed shop. It was dreadful, the mantra was avoid doing anything that you could to help the management provide a smooth service. Good riddance to that.

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  • Neathboy234  |  March 06 2014, 7:08PM

    Zoomer Derek Robinson Robinson was sacked by BL in November 1979 for criticising the BL management. Something that the government of Margaret Thatcher agreed with as they to belived that the company was being run by rank amateurs

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  • Neathboy234  |  March 06 2014, 6:57PM

    Tyrone O'Sullivan did a great job in helping provide work for miners after the strike. And a good living as well, around 60k a year when both seams were working. Since the end of the strike under the 30 year government rule the true facts have now come to light. Newly released cabinet papers from 1984 reveal mineworkers' union leader Arthur Scargill was right to claim there was a "secret hit-list" of more than 70 pits marked for closure. The government and National Coal Board said at the time they wanted to close 20. But the documents reveal a plan to shut 75 mines.

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  • Scroggins  |  March 06 2014, 4:06PM

    I quite agree Zoomer. The miners deserved a better leader than Scargill who was only interested in himself as his recent shenanigans with the Miners Union has shown.

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  • Zoomer  |  March 06 2014, 3:59PM

    Is Arthur Scargill coming to any of the events ? Didn't think so. If the miners had refused to come out on strike, unless there was a lawful ballot, there's a possibility that many of the pits might still be working. The miners allowed themselves to be used as pawns by the Trade Unions, therefore, it was not unnatural that the Tories wanted to bash them. It was the same in the motor industry, remember Red Robbo. I know many ex miners who confirm that there is still a lot of coal underground, but its the miners leaders who really spoilt it for all of them.

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  • Scroggins  |  March 06 2014, 2:18PM

    Nice to see Tyrone looking so well. Nice chap and the first to admit that it was down to John Redwood that they managed to get Tower Colliery up and running.

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  • Neathboy234  |  March 06 2014, 1:56PM

    It did change Wales forever and the rest of the UK as well. Even 30 years later we have a coalition government as a direct result of the strike, as a direct result of the Tories being unelectable in the N of England. Indeed we may never see a majority Tory government again, which i imagine is of some comfort to the miners who lost so much.

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