It is with the deepest sadness that we acknowledge that one of our keynote speakers, Bob Crow RMT General Secretary, will not be joining us at the Orgreave Mass Picnic & Festival. We are pleased to announce that the President of the RMT, Peter Pinkney, will be speaking and together we look forward to paying our tribute to a great comrade.
Over one hundred Protesters from the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign gathered today out side the Wakefield IPCC officers to call for more urgent action on their “scoping exercise” Campaigners have grown frustrated by the slow progress from the IPCC we are now seventeen months into their investigation.
The Campaign has grown rapidly with wide support from the Trade Union Movement and plans to hold a huge music festival on June the 14th on the site of the “the battle for Orgreave”
This book is packed with photographs taken by the late Martin Jenkinson, who was responsible for some of the most striking images to have emerged from political and industrial struggle in Britain over the last 30 years. In addition to his work with the National Union of Mineworkers, Martin was also commissioned by many other unions, notably the National Union of Teachers and the TGWU/UNITE. Martin was a former steelworker who combined his politics and his belief in social justice, fairness and equality with his love of photography. Martin died of cancer aged 64 in June 2012.
Martin Jenkinson, working at Yorkshire Miner’s Gala, Rotherham. June 1985
The coalminers’ strike of 1984/5 was the longest national strike in British history. For a year over 100,000 members of the National Union of Mineworkers, their families and supporters, in hundreds of communities, battled to prevent the decimation of the coal industry on which their livelihoods and communities depended.
Picket wearing a joke police helmet talking to Police at Orgreave on 6 June 1984
Margaret Thatcher’s government aimed to smash the most militant section of the British working class. She wanted to usher in a new era of greater management control at work and pave the way for a radical refashioning of society in favour of neo-liberal objectives that three decades later have crippled the world economy.
Miners’ pickets being chased by mounted police at Orgreave on 18 June 1984
Victory required draconian restrictions on picketing and the development of a militarised national police force that made widespread arrests as part of its criminalisation policy. The attacks on the miners also involved the use of the courts and anti-trade union laws, restrictions on welfare benefits, the secret financing by industrialists of working miners and the involvement of the security services. All of which was supported by a compliant mass media but resisted by the collective courage of miners and mining communities in which the role of Women against Pit Closures in combating poverty and starvation was heroic. Thus inspired by the struggle for jobs and communities an unparalleled movement of support groups right across Britain and in other parts of the world was born and helped bring about a situation where the miners long struggle came close on occasions to winning.
Superintendent John Nesbitt arrests Arthur Scargill, NUM President at Orgreave. This was the only arrest made by Nesbitt during his time as Superintendent.
At the heart of the conflict was the Yorkshire region, where even at the end in March 1985, 83 per cent of 56,000 miners were still out on strike. The official Yorkshire National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) area photographer in 1984-85 was Martin Jenkinson and this book of his photographs, supported by a written detailed account from Mark Metcalf, serves as a unique social document on the dispute that changed the face of Britain.
25% of the author’s fees from the sales of this book are to be divided between the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign and Justice for Mineworkers. Unite branches interested in getting copies should contact Mark Metcalf on 07952 801783.
SUNDAY DAILY STAR By Jonathan Corke/Published 9th February 2014
Police alleged to have colluded to frame miners had identical wording in their statements THREE police chiefs on duty at a picket where officers are alleged to have colluded to frame miners had more than 70 similar or identical lines in their statements.
For 15 months the police watchdog has been studying claims that officers “fitted up” 95 miners arrested at Orgreave, South Yorks, in 1984. Many of the men faced serious charges such as riot but all were cleared amid allegations police fabricated evidence after the incident during the miners’ strike. No officer was ever disciplined or charged even though some miners were awarded compensation. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) began a “scoping exercise” in 2012 after claims that statements from arresting officers and others contained identical passages. Now the Daily Star Sunday has been leaked the accounts of three senior officers on duty when 8,000 miners assembled to picket the coking plant on June 18. They reveal line after line of matching phrases. The first, by Anthony Clement, then South Yorkshire Police’s assistant chief constable in charge of the operation, is dated June 18. “Police were subjected to a hail of missiles including bricks, stones, lengths of wooden fencing, glass bottles and metal objects” Defence barrister Michael Mansfield QC The other two, by then superintendent Keith Povey and chief inspector Peter Hale, are both dated July 14.Apart from one phrase the statements of Mr Povey, who was knighted in 2001, and Mr Hale are identical. Similarities between all three start on page four of Mr Clement’s account. After page five there are large sections of identical phrases. Mark George, a criminal barrister who has studied the accounts, said: “The evidence of collusion is, I suggest, overwhelming.” Among the similarities is a claim that at 8am Arthur Scargill – then leader of the National Union of Mineworkers – walked along the police line “shaking his head as though he might have been an inspecting officer”. Defence barrister Michael Mansfield QC wrote in his memoirs that videos showed Mr Scargill was “nowhere to be seen” at that time. The trio later claimed miners “violently charged police lines”, adding: “Police were subjected to a hail of missiles including bricks, stones, lengths of wooden fencing, glass bottles and metal objects.” Line after line of the statements used identical wording and phrases. All three concluded: “There is no doubt in my mind what happened at Orgreave today was a riot.” Mr George said it was “not unacceptable at the time for officers to pool their recollections” to ensure accuracy. But he added: “When the copying is as blatant as it was in this case it smacks of manufacturing an account that suited the narrative the police wished to present. “If that was the case and it was an untrue account, it amounts to perverting the course of justice.” The IPCC will announce later this year whether it will launch a full investigation into claims of perverting the course of justice, perjury and assault.
Barnsley’s own The Hurriers play to mark the 30th anniversary of the Miners Strike on the day we play Forest. http://www.oldno7barnsley.co.uk/ No tickets but donations on the door will go to the ‘Justice for Mineworkers’ campaign. Very limited capacity, get there early for a cracking night with DJ Meg playing the best in Indie, Ska and Northern Soul til late. Be even better with 3 points from the afternoon in the bag. Could any football Fans wanting to be involved in the Day please contact the Orgreave facebook Page we would like to see supporters from other club’s on the day. PM us for further info https://www.facebook.com/OrgreaveTruthAndJusticeCampaign?fref=ts https://www.facebook.com/WestStandBogs https://www.facebook.com/TheHurriers?fref=ts
Labour will today (Wednesday) launch the ‘Justice for the Coalfields’ campaign to urge Conservative Ministers to begin to put right the wrongs with coalfield communities. Earlier this month newly-released cabinet papers revealed that the Thatcher Government had a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of some 65,000 jobs; that the Government did seek to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute; and that they actively considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the Army to defeat the miners and unions.
Labour is now urging Ministers to take the following action:
•Make a formal apology for the actions of the Government during the time of the strike •Set out all details of the interactions between the Government and the police at the time •Release all information about Government-police communications around Orgreave, with a proper investigation which might go a little way to rebuild public confidence
Labour believes this must happen before the 30th Anniversary of Orgreave on June 18th this year.
On Wednesday 29th January Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Dugher will raise this in the House of Commons, challenging Francis Maude to make an apology and commit to these actions.
Michael Dugher MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:
“For those of us who lived through the strike and who saw the events and impact they had firsthand, what was revealed in the cabinet papers may not come as a surprise. But it is no less shocking to consider that, far from being neutral as was claimed at the time, it is clear that the Government took a deliberately calculated political approach guided by a complete hostility to the coalfield communities.
“That is why I am calling for justice for the coalfields.
“Ministers may want to sweep these events under the carpet, but the scars of the dispute and the subsequent closure programme remain on the memories, communities and landscapes of all coalfield communities. They must now apologise and deliver transparency to begin to foster reconciliation with the coalfield communities.
The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign welcomes this new initiative by the National Labour Party and the issue being raised in Parliament today by Michael Duger, MP Barnsley East. The launching of the campaign ” Justice for the Coalfields” which aims to obtain from the current Government the follwing
Make a formal apology for the actions of the previous Conservative Government during the time of the strike
Set out all details of the interactions between the Government and the police at the time of the strike
Release all information about government-police communications specifically around Orgreave, with a proper investigation which might go a little way to rebuild public confidence, as Yvette Cooper has called for previously.
This initiative can only help and strengthen the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign’s call for a full public inquiry into the policing of the Orgreave Coking Plant, 18th June 1984 and the wrongful arrests for riot and unlawful assembly which resulted on that day. However the Labour Party will have to work very hard to make their aims a reality as no government gives formal apologies lightly or easily and especially a Tory coalition government with a vested interested in not opening up their past history of Margaret Thatcher’s government micro managing the strike and putting the police under enormous pressure over their operational duties as reveled in the recently released Cabinet Papers.
We want the same swift action about Orgreave as there has been over Plebgate.