The Scottish industrial politics of the strike

Jim Phillips

in Collieries, Communities and the Miners' Strike in Scotland, 1984-85

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780719086328
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781781704691 | DOI:
The Scottish industrial politics of the strike

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This explores the strike's distinctive Scottish industrial politics. The chronological focus is mainly from March to October 1984, when support for the strike among miners was generally strong, but when the broader solidarity of the labour movement in Scotland was tested by the picketing of the British Steel Corporation works at Ravenscraig and Hunterston, the coastal terminal through which strike-breaking coal passed. Against the grain of existing literature, this picketing is presented as highly rational: Ravenscraig represented a rare opportunity for the strikers to exert pressure on the government, and its closure would greatly have weakened Conservatism's already fragile position in Scotland. The head of BSC, Bob Haslam, after discussions involving government ministers, it is surmised, pressed Strathclyde Police to disperse the pickets and ensure a steady flow of coal into the plant.

Keywords: Trade union politics; Ravenscraig; Policing; Conservative government

Chapter.  13600 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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