Workplace conflict and the origins of the 1984-85 miners' strike in Scotland

Phillips, J. (2009) Workplace conflict and the origins of the 1984-85 miners' strike in Scotland. Twentieth-Century British History, 20(2), pp. 152-172. (doi: 10.1093/tcbh/hwn047)

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Literature on the 1984-85 miners' strike in Britain tends to be dominated by examination of peak level relations between the Conservative government, the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The strike is usually depicted as being illegitimately imposed, without a national ballot, on the industry and the miners by the NUM leadership. This article develops a more rounded perspective on the strike, by locating its origins in workplace conflict which had been steadily escalating in the early 1980s in the Scottish coalfields. A significant portion of Scottish miners, anxious about employment prospects and angry about managerial incursions on established joint industrial regulation of daily mining operations, pushed their union towards a more militant position. This subverts the conventional picture of the strike as a top-down phenomenon. In this respect events in Scotland, which rarely feature in established literature, were in fact extremely important, shaping the national strike that emerged from the workforce's opposition to managerial authoritarianism as well as the closure of uneconomic pits. The peak level context of deteriorating relations and pit level details of incrementally intensifying workplace conflict are established through industry and trade union records and press accounts.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Phillips, Professor Jim
Authors: Phillips, J.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Economic and Social History
Journal Name:Twentieth-Century British History
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1477-4674
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2009 Oxford University Press
First Published:First published in Twentieth Century British History 20(2):152-172
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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