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Reflections on the miners' dispute

Lockyer, Cliff and Baldry, Chris (1985) Reflections on the miners' dispute. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 10 (4). pp. 60-65. ISSN 0306-7866

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Abstract

Paradoxically, the ending of the dispute between the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Coal Board has raised several questions and potential problems rather than led to any enduring solutions. The ending of the dispute without an agreement, the high numbers of miners applying for voluntary redundancy, and the recent acceptance of the 5.2% wage offer refused eighteen months ago, all prompt a questioning of the causes and consequences of the dispute. The conduct and ending of the dispute also raise a number of important issues as to the future pattern of industrial relations within the mining industry and in Britain generally. In addition, the actions of those involved indicate important changes in the roles of the law, the police and Government in collective bargaining arrangements and in the handling of disputes, especially in the public sector. In discussing the dispute and its implications, it is first necessary to understand the extent to which the causes of the dispute, the conduct of the Government, Police, NCB and NUM, and even the outcome were directly influenced by the 1972 and 1974 national mining disputes.