miners' strike

Women of the Working Class

Written by Mal Finch, Women of the Working Class was adopted as the anthem of the Women Against Pit Closures campaign during the miners strike of 1984/85. The spirit of working-class resistance and self-reliance represented in the song is needed now more than ever. This song needs to be heard again far and wide.

"We don't need government approval for anything we do/We don't need their permission to have a point of view/We don't need anyone to tell us what to think or say/We've strength enough and wisdom of our own, to go our own way."

Strikes in Britain: a selected timeline

1888 - The Matchgirls Strike: Successful strike against poor working conditions in a match factory, including 14-hour work days, poor pay, excessive fines, and the severe health complications of working with white phosphorus.

1901 - Taff Vale dispute: Strikers employ sabotage tactics to prevent scabs working, and the company sues the union for damages - and wins. This would lead to the formation of the Labour Party.

Looking back at the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike

In March 1984, twenty five years ago, the National Coal Board announced it intended to close 20 pits with the loss of 20,000 jobs. Cortonwood in South Yorkshire was earmarked as the first to close, “imminently”, in the words of the NCB chairman, Ian MacGregor. The miners at Cortonwood immediately came out on strike and by March 12th the National Union of Mineworkers had made the strike national. This was to become the bitterest industrial dispute in most of our lifetimes and marked a major defeat for the working class.