Orgreave Truth and Justice are very proud to present a further serialisation of the memoirs of former miner Bruce Wilson.
Last year we serialised his book ‘Yorkshire’s Flying Pickets‘ and now begin the serialisation of his memories of working in the steelworks and in Silverwood mine, in Rotherham.
Full of lively anecdotes, ‘Life in the Steel Works and down the Mine’ captures the tales, superstitions and traditions of two South Yorkshire industries, the people who worked in them and who lived in the communities that surrounded them. History will prove the value of these works.
Read the first chapter of Bruce’s memoirs here.
SATURDAY 18th JUNE 5PM
On 18th June it will be 32 years since the police brutally attacked picketing miners at the Orgreave Coking plant in South Yorkshire during the 1984/5 Miners Strike. The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC) are calling on supporters to join them in a march and rally for truth and justice on Saturday 18th June at 5pm at The Old Bridge, Orgreave Lane, Sheffield S13 9NE. Supporters are encouraged to commemorate the day when 95 miners were arrested and wrongfully charged and many others were violently assaulted and wounded by a police force charging on horseback and wielding truncheons.
Barbara Jackson, Secretary of OTJC said “We are encouraging people to come along and bring placards and banners to the event to show support and put pressure on the Home Secretary Theresa May to order a Public Inquiry into the vicious and unruly policing of picketing miners, wrongful arrests and the subsequent falsification of police evidence”
“The huge public and political demand for a Public Inquiry about Orgreave since the Hillsborough verdict has been really uplifting for the OTJC but the Government are dragging their heels in reaching a decision about whether to pursue a public inquiry. We are hoping however that we will get a positive response from the Home Office before the end of this month”
Kevin Horne, a miner arrested on that day and a member of OTJC said “The experience at Orgreave was terrifying. We were only there because we were fighting for our jobs and the futures of our families and communities. We were met by a police force who literally ran riot, attacking and beating us at random with what seemed to be an intention to frighten us into submission”
“An inquiry should help us to expose the real truth of what happened on that day, achieve justice and make it easier for both the mining community and the police to move on”
Joe Rollin, Chair of OTJC will introduce the following speakers at the rally:
Margaret Aspinall, Hillsborough Family Support Group
Kevin Horne, Ex miner at Orgreave & OTJC supporter
OTJC Secretary, Barbara Jackson
General Secretary, Chris Kitchen & Yorkshire Area President, Chris Skidmore NUM
Tosh McDonald, ASLEF President
Barristers, Henrietta Hill & Mark George
Sheffield Labour MPs, Louise Haigh & Gill Furniss
Originally published at Unite Live.
Unite members can help win justice for Ogreave miners
As one of the stalwarts of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign (OTJC), Joe Rollin, a Unite industrial organiser from Barnsley, wants Unite members who have been very supportive so far to help provide the final push to persuade the home secretary Theresa May to order a public inquiry into the policing of events at the Orgreave Coking Plant on more than thirty years ago on June 18, 1984.
May is expected to announce shortly the outcome of her examination of the OTJC’s legal case, which was submitted in support of an inquiry late last year. Since then, of course, an inquest jury has concluded that 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives after a crush at Hillsborough in 1989 were unlawfully killed. Both Orgreave and Hillsborough were overseen by South Yorkshire Police (SYP).
“Since we started out in November 2012, OTJC has enjoyed significant support from Unite members and from other trade unionists,” Rollin said.
“Now we really need everyone who can do so to attend this year’s rally on Saturday, June 18 at Orgreave. We also want as many letters as possible sent to Theresa May, who has informed us that the delay in responding is because she is considering carefully our detailed submission asking her to set up an independent public inquiry or panel.
The legal submission, which was prepared voluntarily by four barristers, was submitted after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) took nearly three years to conduct an initial investigation that concluded it didn’t have the resources to undertake a full-scale investigation. The police watchdog also indicated it could not locate important documents such as the police operational orders that were drawn up in advance of June 18, 1984.
On that day, 95 miners were arrested when thousands of police officers from across the country brutally assaulted miners striking to defend jobs and mining communities. At subsequent court cases the evidence presented by SYP was heavily discredited and 39 miners were later awarded out of court settlements.
Yet no police officers, some of whom were told not to write anything in their note books on June 18 were ever charged of any offence despite conclusive evidence of assault, perjury, preventing the course of justice and misconduct in public office. Five years later at Hillsborough, history repeated itself when police officers were also instructed not to write anything in their note books. Some of the same senior officers were involved in the aftermath of both scandals.
Tell us the truth
This has led to the shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, who is one of the invited speakers on at this year’s rally, to state “underhand tactics were first used against South Yorkshire miners before being deployed to much more deadly effect against Liverpool supporters.”
“Like the people of Liverpool, the South Yorkshire mining communities now need to be told the truth about their police force and the policing of the miners’ strike,” he said.
Burnham is one of dozens of Labour MPs who are backing calls for a public inquiry and they have been joined by Nick Timothy, who was the home secretary’s most senior advisor until last year, and David Jones, the interim chief constable at SYP, who has said he would welcome “an appropriate independent assessment” of events in 1984.
Joe Rollin, who has chaired the OTJC throughout its existence, thinks this makes it likely that Theresa May, who when the campaign met with her in July last year listened intently and indicated she was concerned about the legacy of mistrust within mining communities towards the police, will order an inquiry.
“What we want is one that has the power to get to the truth,” Rollin said. “Support from Unite members at our rally and in submitting letters can help make this possible.”
The Orgreave Anniversary Rally on Saturday June 18 starts at 5pm at The Old Bridge, Orgreave Lane, Sheffield S13 9NE.
Among the speakers are Tosh McDonald, ASLEF President, barrister Michael Mansfield, ex-miner Kevin Horne and Barbara Jackson of OTJC. Find out more here.