In Uncategorized on February 4, 2010 at 11:50 am
I got up at 4am this morning so I could get down to Westoe for the mass picket called in response to Westoe NACOD’s voting for a return to work, but only if there wasn’t a hostile picket at the gates. It was brilliant!! Over 500 men turned out to face one senior pig, as requested by NACOD’s. We were VERY hostile as we marched up to the pit gates with the ‘Zulu’ chant being shouted loudly. Just like the good old days. We spotted a man sitting in a car beside the pit, and when we asked him who he was he told us he was a reporter from the Shields Gazette, notorious amongst the pickets for its pro – scab, pro – NCB stance. He was lucky to get away alive as we began to rock his car and almost turned his world upside down.
The Deputies leader was very arrogant in his short discussion with our officials, resulting in a hail of paimt bombs, stones and traffic bollards raining down on the Deputies, forcing them into a very undignified retreat. Things then started to get out of hand and a car was overturned. Unfortunately it was owned by a local TV rental company who have threatened to stop all credit to striking miners. At least they wont have to watch the shit being poured out constantly about the return to work!
A Deputy’s car was also covered in paint because its owner had been particularly outspoken against us. He has already been bleating to the local media, and has hung a sign on his car naming the NUM as the ‘hooligans’ responsible. No doubt his action will result in further abuse, but whatever he suffers it will not be a fraction of what we have suffered for the past 11 months!
The Shields Gazette had a field day in tonights edition, calling us ‘hooligans and thugs’, and reserving special indignation to report the ‘horrific experience of their innocent reporter’. As innocent as Robert Maxwell or Rupert Murdoch! The sooner this nasty, tatty little rag goes bankrupt the better for the people of South Shields!
The Tories are going in for the kill, announcing the closure of Frances Colliery in Scotland with the loss of 500 jobs, with more to go if the stike continues. Bastards!!
In Uncategorized on January 30, 2010 at 6:18 pm
I received a letter through the post from the manager of Westoe Colliery appealing for me to return to work so that the pit can be saved. Apparently it is in danger of being flooded so badly we won’t be able to save it if we don’t return to work NOW! Bollocks,it’s blackmail. They’ve tried bribery and that didn’t work so now it’s blackmail. The letter ends,’Remember, it is YOUR JOB and YOUR future at stake and requires YOUR decision NOW!’ The bin got my response!
The Lodge has asked for our Safety Rep to be allowed down the pit to assess the situation but the manager, predictably, has refused. The fact of the matter is its not us he wants back, it’s the Deputies in the NACOD’s union because without them he can’t get the scabs back down the pit. NACOD’s have so far refused to cross our picket lines because they know they will have to work with us once the strike is over, but that doesn’t mean anything to the NCB and they are really being put under pressure. I’ve no sympathy with the bastards at all because if they’d joined the strike at the start we would have won this bloody strike months ago!
As expected, the NCB have refused to talk to the NUM unless they agree not to oppose pit closures. How can the bastards expect us to do that after all the shit we’ve been through? Bastards are just building up mens hopes and then crushing them in the hope more men will return to work in despair. 5,000 scabs now in the North East.
Four scab buses went into Westoe this morning and three men were arrested in the push. The pigs just grab anyone they can catch. The NCB are claiming 185 men working at Westoe. They neglect to mention that 100 of these are in the COSA union, 53 mechanics and the remainder genuine NUM scabs. Hardly a massive return to work from a workforce of over 2000 men! I’m proud of the Westoe pickets and always will be!
In Uncategorized on January 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm
It was totally pissing down with rain this morning and I really wanted to stay in bed but I forced myself to get up and down to the line because I still believe we can win, despite the passivity of others. One lad, Tony Scott, was arrested by the pigs but it was great to hear the ‘Zulu’ chant one more time.
The NCB have crowed louder than usual today, claiming 651 new men returning to work. The biggest scabbing happened at Ellington Colliery in Northumberland where 147 men scabbed and brought the total to 600.
There are now 4,812 scabs in the North East, almost a quarter of the workforce, and it would be stupid if we were not concerned. David Archibald, Area Director, said on tv,’These men returning reinforce our view that the collapse of the strike is inevitable and gets nearer as each week passes’.
The national picture is no better, with the NCB claiming 40% now scabbing. Thatcher is going for the jugular and is refusing to hold talks without a guaranteed sell out. She is an evil fucking bitch!!
In Uncategorized on January 7, 2010 at 12:13 pm
The NCB are claiming over 1,000 men returned to work today. At Westoe, as at other pits in the North East, they were expecting a huge surge back. It never happened at Westoe, though there were a few more than Friday. There was a very discouraging return at Herrington, led by the Lodge Chairman, a rat called Stokoe. Also, at Ellington, the Lodge Secretary led a return to work, despite his son being a leading member of ‘Militant’. These two dickheads claim an allegiance to the NUM, and will almost certainly encourage more scabbing from the so called ‘moderate miners’ who have sat on their arses for 10 months! Bastards!
The situation at Wearmouth just gets worse and I feel really sorry for their predominantly left wing officials because they have a lot more scabs than us, and our officials have been crap whilst theirs have been excellent. It just doesn’t make sense.
In Uncategorized on January 4, 2010 at 11:35 am
According to the NCB 72 scabs went into Westoe today, 3,177 in the North East Area. No difference on the picket line, passivity and resignation, doom and gloom. The end seems nigh.
This afternoon I decided to take Jen and Sasha down to the picket line because I knew there’d be no trouble but just in case we stood away from the main body of pickets. I just wanted to explain to them what has been happening for almost a year, and to show them the scab buses and explain the kind of people who were hiding inside. I know that Sasha is only 10, and Jen 12, but why shouldn’t they know why their mam and dad are splitting up?
Predictably a television crew had turned up from Tyne Tees Television to film the 3 buses going in so that passive miners who still have tellies can see how quiet it is. Some of the lads jumped in front of the camera to ruin their filming as the scab buses went in, and one of the escort vans full of riot police stopped and they poured out ready for action, pushing roughly into our lads and trying hard to get them to retaliate. The lads knew their tactics and didn’t respond. I pointed this all out to my daughters and told them never to forget what they were seeing, and hearing, in January 1985. Sasha said,’They should push the police back, I would’. Out of the mouths of babes!
The pigs crawled back into their van and continued to mock the pickets by waving money at them. I again pointed this out to the girls and explained what the police were doing before leading them off to return home. We had just turned the corner when a police van pulled up just ahead of us, and an inspector, two pips on his shoulder, leant out of the window and said,’Hoy! You! What were you saying to those children?’. Anger welled up inside me and I snapped back,’What the hell has that got to do with you? They’re my kids and our conversation is private!’ His response staggered me! ‘I hope you weren’t trying to warp their minds against the police!’ I can’t remember exactly what I said in reply because I was fuming but it was something along the lines that things hadn’t got so bad that I was forced to repeat conversations with my girls to the police. His response shocked even me, a hardened picket,’I'll tell you what then mate. When those kids, pointing at my terrified daughters,get fucking lost, or something fucking worse happens to them, don’t phone for us, phone for fucking Arthur Scargill!’ The van sped off and I was left trying to console my frightened kids. What the fuck have we come to that innocent girls have to be scared witless because their dad is a striking miner?
In Uncategorized on January 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm
Today was my first back on the picket line since September. Then it was to stop 7 scabs going into Wearmouth; now it’s to stop 56 scabs claimed by the NCB at my own pit, Westoe. Problem is, no attempt at all was made to stop any of the three buses that sped into the pit. The very fact they are using three buses when one would do shows the Boards desperation to convince men to scab, and the media keeps us constantly reminded that the scab numbers are rising. It’s very discouraging. I seem to have been saying the same thing since the start of the strike but that doesn’t make it less true. We need MASS PICKETS to push and shove against the pigs to stop the scabs. We could have had a go with the 200 men present today but no one was trying to organise or encourage.
If the depressing mood at Westoe is being repeated elsewhere then the strike is headed for a sell out at best, total defeat at worst. Shouting scab at faceless traitors won’t stop them going into work, and neither will vandalising their homes because the NCB just pays for repairs.
In Uncategorized on November 5, 2009 at 10:25 am
Well, the strain has finally caught up with Kath and she has suggested that we split up. I didn’t argue because home life has become unbearable and it was starting to affect the girls. We’ve agreed that a seperation will be best for all of us and I’ll leave as soon as I can find somewhere to live. 12 years down the pan! Thank you Thatcher! Perhaps when the strike is finally over we can get back together, though I doubt it because there is no way I am ever going back down the pit again. I’ve been saying it for months, win or lose, and I can’t really see Kath wanting to be with me when I’m unemployed. Que sera sera.
Chris Moore phoned to say the Redskins are playing the Bunker club in Sunderland tomorrow night and has invited me and Kath along. Kath doesn’t want to go so I’ll go on my own. I need something to cheer me up.
Kinnock has refused to attend a series of planned rallies. Just proves where his true loyalties lie, and it aint with us miners!
The Delegate Conference has voted unanimously to continue the strike, which is heartening in the light of concerted efforts by the NCB to bribe men back to work. The bastards are trying hard to get NUM funds but they aren’t finding it easy. Let’s hope it stays that way.
In Uncategorized on October 22, 2009 at 1:24 pm
The kitchen got off to a great start as far as customers were concerned with about 80 pickets turning up. Unfortunately we had a bit of a disaster with the soup because all the lentils and peas stuck to the bottom of the boiler and burned the soup. We had to pour the lot down the drain. Fortunately we had plenty of bread and eggs so the lads didn’t starve. An important lesson learnt, you must stir the soup regularly!
A group of students from Newcastle Poly came down and gave us a cheque for £116 which they had collected over the weekend. This gave us a tremendous boost and we put a huge sheet of paper on the wall so that we can write down all the donations we receive and the pickets can clearly see who is supporting us. It will also put all finances into the open so we can hopefully avoid being accused of benefitting personally.
Some berk called Michael Eaton has been appointed as NCB spokesman to take over public announcements from Ian ‘The Elephant Man’ MacGregor who has become an embarrassment to his paymasters.
In Uncategorized on October 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm
I travelled up to Newcastle today with two women from the Westoe Miners Wives Support Group, Alison and Marion. We’d been invited to attend a meeting at Newcastle Poly because the Tory students were going to try and reverse the decision to support the miners made at the start of the strike. During the course of the meeting, when Alison was nervously speaking and asking for support for the children, one of the Tories stood up and shouted, ‘If you want money why don’t you send your husband back to work?. I just saw him disappear under a load of students keen to show him the error of his ways! He was lucky because if I’d had a chance to get at him I would have put up a much stronger argument! Anyway, the good news is the Tories were well defeated so the support stays. We got £17 from a collection. We also paid a visit to Newcastle University and were given another £125. Alison and Marion were well chuffed.
The kitchen will now open next Monday at Harton Miners Welfare because we also received two cheques from comrades in Manchester SWP for £110. Their support throughout the strike has been magnificent and they’ve played a key role in establishing the credibility of the SWP at Westoe.
NACOD’s have called a strike to start on the 25th after talks with the NCB broke down. If they really mean it why not call the strike for tomorrow? I think it’s so they can give the NCB time to buy them off. We’ll see.
In Uncategorized on October 3, 2009 at 2:34 pm
As expected, the jellybacks in NACOD’s have gone into talks with the NCB through ACAS. It’s a bloody tragedy! After recording a strike vote that surprised us all the bastards have backed down. They could’ve done what we’ve so far failed to do, make Thatcher do another U – turn, and stop the scabs in Notts and elsewhere. I hope I’m wrong but I think they’ll reach a compromise.
Gary, Keith and me had a meeting this afternoon at Gary’s house. It was a useful exercise and one we hope to repeat on a weekly basis. The most important thing to come out of the meeting is our decision to reopen the soup kitchen at Harton which closed during the summer due to lack of funds and customers. Our first task is to start building up a reserve of cash to ensure we can keep it running once we start. We think it will be excellent because it can serve as a focal point for the pickets and be a place where everyone can discuss their problems. At least it will give me something constructive to do.
Today is the 10th birthday of my youngest daughter, Sasha, and thanks to Kath’s final pay packet we were able to give her a nice present, which is more than most striker’s kids will get. We’ve been lucky and it’s a pity Kath can’t appreciate that.