I decided to try picketing at Woodside Drift mine near Consett, out in the wilds of County Durham in the hope it would be more inspiring than Lumley. It wasn’t, but it did give me the opportunity to agitate amongst the Westoe men present to attend the union meeting to be held on Wednesday. I also spoke to a lot of the pickets before they left for Tow Law and it looks as if the resolutions I am going to propose will be passed because they’re what the men want. They are;
1.Weekly union meetings.
2.Setting up a soup kitchen in the Armstrong Hall.
3.A cooker to be bought for the Women’s Support Group.
4.More pickets to travel away.
5.The Women’s Support Group to be helped financially by the Lodge.
6.A strike committee to be elected.
7.Pickets to be sent to the steelworks on Teeside.
The Women’s Support Group is doing very well, despite the animosity and unhelpful attitude of our own Lodge officials, hence the resolutions. The women have set up an office in the National Union of Seamen’s premises in Coronation Street, South Shields, and its from there that they’re distributing food parcels.Gary Marshall and me went down to visit them and gave them £300 we’d collected in Manchester, keeping the rest in reserve in case we need it. We offered to help out but the women refused, saying they want to stay independant. Fair enough.
Kath has been promoted to Warden of the Women’s Aid Refuge because her boss is taking six months leave of absence.It means a slight pay rise, more responsibility, and the chance of a permanant job if her boss doesn’t come back. It takes the pressure off me a bit because she is a lot happier.