The days since Mansfield have been totally boring because my ban from Tow Law has meant I’ve had to picket at Lumley No6 Pit, which, despite its name is no longer a working colliery but a site where coal form open cast sites is stored and cleaned.
Each day there have been about 70 pickets present, mostly lads like myself who have been banned from Tow Law. The lorries arrive around 9.30 each day but no attempt is made to stop them. We just shout ‘scab’ because we are greatly outnumbered by the pigs, and I suppose lads don’t want to risk getting arrested again. It’s so disheartening and even when the pigs provoke us no one has the confidence to fight back. Like on Wednesday when one pig took offence at the ‘Stop the Police State’ placards we had lined up along a fence and ripped them up! Some of the older men actually told the pig he was right whilst the rest of us just glared at him. It’s so frustrating I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth my trouble but I guess the answer is it is worth it because I can agitate amongst the younger lads for switching the picket to the steelworks on Teeside.
Tonight the Lodge Secretary, Walter Slater, reimbursed me for the Mansfield trip and told me not to organise any more trips because the Lodge can’t afford it! What a load of bollocks!
After talking with a lot of the pickets I’ve started a petition which demands that we have a union meeting. We haven’t had one for weeks and the Lodge officials give the pathetic excuse that they have nothing to say. Well, we’ve got plenty to fuckin’ say, especially about picketing. The majority of lads I’ve spoken to have signed it and I’ve handed it in to a committee man. I also managed to sell 37 copies of Socialist Worker which shows that lots of lads are open to new ideas and keen to know what is really happening in this strike.
Unfortunately Ian Wilburn hasn’t been spotted since Mansfield and if the threats made against him have put him off then it’s a bloody shame!