1984/5

SUB PAGE


NATIONAL UNION OF MINEWORKERS STRIKE







The A.S.L.E.F. Branches at Brighton Nos. 1 & 2 and Bognor, soon followed the lead that was 

set by the Three Bridges Branch, in particularly by Derek Abrahams and Roy Luxford. They 

sent regular donation of funds and material support, and the fact that there was also regular 

delegations from these Branches to show their support to the various mining communities in 

the midlands.







Tunbridge Wells Meeting

Sunday 15th July 1984 at 10.00 a.m.

at the welfare Rooms Tunbridge Wells Central Station


Miners Strike

Bro. Derrek Fullick stated that a 50p levy, 50% in already, just briefly asked on what will happen to those members who have not paid and those who are volunteering to pay, say a £1.00 a week to the soup kitchen but not to the Head Office. Bro. Fullick asked for these names to be put forward to the E.C. The 50p a week was a good house keeping exercise because of the demands made on the Society in the past few months, N.G.A., C.G.H.Q. and the miners.

On miners most effected it is not the miners down this way who are feeling the pinch so much but the Midlands Area another thing the Head Office is doing that any driver sent home because of refusing to cross a picket line, his days wages is being paid by the inion. District Secretaries in these areas are being authorised to make payment to cut down time and red tape. Depot who are affected are these depots who work is mainly to with the coal as management cannot give them another job.

A.A.D. excepted the above, once explained to them.

On Charing Cross men withdrawing their labour in support was because of police tactics in chasing miners over main lines to catch them turning buses around because miners travelling on them. The miners crime trying to attend a rally.

On soup kitchens these are being operated by the miner’s wives themselves and every penny sent is going to the soup kitchens. Typical meal for women and children is spuds, peas and gravy Monday to Saturday. Spuds, peas and half a meat pie Sundays.

D.H.S.S. holding back payment, some miner’s wives yet received any money. It was this that prompted members attending District Council for each member to donate £5.00 each, totalled £155.00 was collected, which all helps.

It was mentioned that if  money were to be sent and it was for the Soup Kitchen, the Branch Secretaries should write to either 

Notts. N.U.M. Area, Miners Offices, Berry’s Hill Lane, Notts

Yorkshire N.U.M. Yorkshire Area, Miners Offices, Barnsley

If you wish the money to go to the men on picket duty or to help with travelling fund. Then write to Sheffield Area N.U.M.

If you wish to send money to Bettshanger who will then send it on to the pits who need it the most. Bettshanger while on strike are not so bad off as those up north.







LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL 

AUGUST 1984

THREE BRIDGES BRANCH

extracted from branch report

As usual the branch meeting held on Sunday, July 15 was very well attended . it was the third quarter meeting and we again managed to exceed a fifty per cent attendance, which has been the average for this year.

The meeting dealt with head office correspondence, the district council report, and LDC report. The AAD report followed and we were informed that Three Bridges had succeeded in getting a motion adopted calling for no change in the current physical needs break agreement.

The meeting then welcomed Bro. Bob Rudge, the Three Bridges N.U.R Secretary whom we have invited to arrange a liaison committee between local A.S.L.E.F. and N.U.R branches under the terms of the Federation.

One of the first tasks facing the committee will be to raise money for the miners. And it was the mineworkers’ strike that took up debate for the next section of the meeting.

Agreement was reached that we make a donation from our branch funds, plus a recommendation that each member of the Three Bridges branch donate a further £5 per person to the N.U.M. strike fund.

The money goes to the wives and children of striking miners who now depend to a large degree on soup kitchens for food, and I am pleased to say money is being freely donated.




Robin Baldock Collection 

Three Bridges Branch Members

Johnny Vigar, Robin Baldock, Bob Home (N.A.C.O.D.S.) & Janet Baldock 

Attending the Miners Rally at Doncaster 1984




LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL 

SEPTEMBER 1984

HUNGRY, BUT DETERMINED

Derek Abrahams of Three Bridges Branch went to see what was happening at one Yorkshire pit. This is what he found.

At 4.30 am on a Saturday morning in August, a small group of railwaymen - myself Robin Baldock of Three Bridges of Three Bridges A.S.L.E.F., along with Bob Rudge and Kevin Larkin of Three Bridges N.U.R. - set off on a journey which was to take us from the leafy lanes of Conservative West sussex, through numerous social barriers, to the battleground reality of working class South Yorkshire.

We had deliberately chosen to travel a long distance to visit the miners and their families on strike at Hatfield colliery near doncaster - firstly to show those on strike that their support comes from all over the country; and secondly to see for ourselves the huge social differences between the two areas.

Having heard stories of Kent miners being stopped at the Dartford Tunnel we decided to cross London well away from the Kent area and then travel by motorway all the way to Doncaster.

It’s strange how paranoia sets in on a trip like this, because not only did I decide to carry my driving licence, insurance and MOT, but also brought my registration document just to be on the safe side in case we were stopped by the police, particularly as our two cars contained over £100 worth of foodstuffs which had been purchased with money collected from Three Bridges and Gatwick Airport areas.

As things turned out the 200 mile journey north was free of police and our small group, which also included Robin’s wife Janet, reached Hatfield in just under five hours.

At Hatfield we were met by Bob Hulme who is the Hatfield miner’s welfare officer. Bob showed us around the soup kitchen which feeds up to 500 people a day.

Although the food we brought from Sussex was a help, it was really a drop in the ocean, as the soup kitchens in that feed not only miners on strike but also young children and babies. It’s the inclusion of the young and very young on this daily hunger list that causes the most concern to striking miners and puts them under the greatest psychological pressure.

Even the youngest and most vulnerable members of the mining communities are making sacrifices in their diet as a result of the current dispute.

The precise details of the miners’ hardship were given to me by Peter Curran, the Hafield NUM branch secretary. Peter is a face worker and since March 12 he has lost £131 per week in wages. Including unsocial hours payments etc. Peter and his colleagues have lost around £4,00.

Yet Hatfield colliery, with 33 million tonnes of very high quality coal in the Barnsley and High Hazel seams, is on the surface a very safe pit.

But the miners fear that Hatfield may well be shut down purely for political reasons, because Hatfield, like all the collieries in Yorkshire, is a very strong NUM pit, and the government fears that if coal is to form the backbone of Britain’s engird supplies for the foreseeable future, then the men who produce that energy must not be allowed to belong to a strong trade union.

In the ideal Tory party coal industry, the miners fear pits like Hatfield and other selected mines in the militant area would be shut down and coal would be supplied from the more “politically moderate” coalfield of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Peter told us of the hardship of the miners. Many men have had their electricity supply cut off. There was a list of dirty tricks and intimidation being used by the Department of Health and Social Security to try and force men back to work. One striking miner had volunteered to wash and clean coal so with union approval it could be supplied to widows, pensioners and hospitals. This striker has now had social security payments to his family stopped, the reason being given that he was receiving a small meal allowance for his charity work.

Considering that single men receive no social security at all and that a married man with as many as three children will receive just £23 a week, it is amazing how these people have survived for so long.

Still, among all the troubles and hardships the NUM are currently facing, there is a tremendous determination and spirit among the men and their families.

The determination was best personified by Steve McGee who is president of the Hatfield NUM. In the afternoon Steve took Kevin, Bob and myself on a trip to the Bandit Country of North Nottinghamshire. We were luck that we had chosen a Saturday; the visit would have virtually impossible on a working day, as police road blocks prevent any access to areas when working collieries are operational.

More importantly Steve would almost certainly have been arrested had we been stopped by the police, the reason being that his current conditions of bail make him a virtual prisoner in the town of Hatfield. The change he is soon to face in court is that of threatening behaviour; somewhat strange, as after Steve’s brief confrontation with the police, he needed immediate treatment for head injuries at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Steve said that when the local police first arrived in Nottinghamshire there was an extremely good relationship between the police and the pickets - so good that the police even supplied food and hot drinks and played football with those on the picket line.

Then, outside police forces from London, Manchester, etc. arrived and the attitude changed overnight. This has led to some of the most violent and disturbing scenes ever witnessed in any industrial dispute.

Still it must be remembered that the vast majority of strikers have not been involved in any picketing over the last six months, they have sent that time simply trying to survive.

It’s this picture of people attempting to survive and preserve their communities that will be our lasting memory of Hatfield and its marvellous people.

Of course, whether the TUC or the darker autumn evenings bring any relief to the NUM still remains to be seen.

For our small group it was time to head back to sedate West Sussex where the only roadblock are caused by hay trucks and herds of cattle being shunted down sleepy country lanes.

We had truly enjoyed our day at Hatfield and are now supporting their soup kitchens with weekly donations from Three Bridges A.S.L.E.F. and N.U.R. I f any other branches wish to support Hatfield or any other colliery, details of individual branch addresses can be obtained from NUM area offices.

But please take our advice and don’t just send food and money to the miners, visit them for yourselves. All you need to say is that you are an A.S.L.E.F. or N.U.R. member and they will give you a tremendous welcome. If our trips to Hatfield is anything to goby it will be an eye opening experience not to be missed.       



LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL 

MAY 1985

LONDON BRIDGE BRANCH

At our February meeting we quickly dispensed with branch business and turned to the pleasant task of presenting to a delegation of miners from our adopted pit, Dinnington, South Yorkshire, an A.S.L.E.F plaque.

In acceptance, Bro Pip Broome (NUM) said that the plaque would be prominently placed in the miners’ club and support, concern and friendship formed during this bitter prolonged strike would be forever remembered and continued.

Next, we presented to Bro. John Thompson an inscribed tankard to mark his transfer from this depot to Bishop’s Storford. John was last year’s excellent chairman and has been a loyal member of the branch: committee man, district council representative and other necessary roles since our inception. It is Bishop’s Storford’s gain and our loss.

On March 20, Bros. Clark, Whittington, Morris and myself visited Dinnington once again. It was at once noticeable that the atmosphere was entirely different from our last visits. The atrocious police presence was gone, the community more relaxed, the pit outwardly working normally. Let it be understood that whilst the immediate battle is over, the deprivation and hardship that the miners have been through has yet to be overcome. Wages in many cases are spoken for before they are earned and it will be long time before normality is restored. To quote Mrs Pat Smith, leads of that magnificent body of women, the Dinnington miners’ support group, Thatcher had done the trade unions favour. She has shown how important the class struggle is, and not least how politically aware the women have became.

During the course of the morning, we visited Thurston, Melty and Silverwood collieries to renew acquaintances and returned to Dinnington miners’ club to find liquid refreshment laid on for us. I am glad to report that we managed to leave the establishment under our own steam - just.

L. BERRIMAN

London Bridge have produced a joint solidarity badge with Dinnington NUM. 
The badges cost £2 each from either Drivers J. Wilde or G. Veale.



LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL 

FEBRUARY 1985

BATTERSEA BRANCH

It was decided by the branch that a sub-committee be set uo to raise funds for the miners' families, and our four members who had been operating the fund were elected. It has proved such a success that on Saturday December 1 these four members of the branch were able to hire transport and take a quant of food, clothing and sweets to the families of miners at Betteshanger colliery in Kent. To quote one member "it was an emotional scene." 

To all those who contributed to the fund, and to future collections which will take place, my sincere thanks and appreciation. There have been some members who have declined to give anything. I apologise for their lack of thought, bearing in mind that the miners have always supported us in one way or another when we have wanted help in our disputes.

R. WEEKS

BRANCH SECRETARY



LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL 

FEBRUARY 1985

THREE BRIDGES BRANCH

Our AGM started with a review of the year's finances, and in particular


Our AGM started with a review of the year's finances, and in particular the finances to the mineworkers' strike. The branch secretary gave details of how much Monet has been raised by the sale of the various strike and unity badges.


Between July and November 1984the branch raised just over £1,000 for families of miners on strike. Recent donations included £400 to Hatfield NUM in South Yorkshire, £200 to Snowdon NUM in Kent, and £100 to Brodsworth NUM, again in South Yorkshire. In a sense these donations are a drop in the ocean, but if you consider that the current A.S.L.E.F. membership at Three Bridges stands at just twenty men, it will give you some idea of the wonderful effort put in by members of this branch.


Along with our NUR colleagues at Three Bridges, plus our A.S.L.E.F colleagues at Bognor Regis and Brighton, we must have have taken at least £3,000 worth of money, food and clothes to the families of striking miners in South Yorkshire and Kent.


The meeting heard Bro. Luxford's report, after which the branch expressed its deep concern that ex-Sealink travel concessions are starting to be removed. A motion was passed calling on the Executive Committee to resist such moves.


It was decided to retain all 1984's branch officers and standing orders for 1985. Bro. R. Young was nominated for LDC secretary position, our vote was cast, and Bro. Luxford and Bro. Baldock were elected as A.S.L.E.F. reps to sit with the NUR reps to sit with the NUR reps and our Federation committee.


PS. In addition to the 1982 Three Bridges strike badge and Three Bridges unity badges with Snowdon and Hatfield Main NUM (cost £2.25 plus p&p) and a two set Southern Region A.S.L.E.F - Yorks Area NUM unity badge (cost £3.50 plus p&p). All profits to the miners' soup kitchen, then after the NUM dispute, to the A.S.L.E.F. Orphans Fund


DEREK ABRAHAMS


THREE BRIDGES




LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL 

SEPTEMBER 1985

BADGES

I would like to sincerely thank all the badge collectors who purchased various Three Bridges strike badges and unity with the NUM badges.

The badges sold well to start with, but not surprisingly the effect wore off towards the end. Nevertheless, there were twelve different coloured badges in various designs and a total of 2,400 individual badges were produced. Some 75 per cent of these badges were sold and after production costs were deduction the profits of some £800 went to the miners in South Yorkshire (mainly to Hatfield Main). A further £200 went to Snowdown NUM in Kent last Christmas. After the strike was over, a further £ 50 went to Hatfield again to help sponsor a children’s outing to Scarborough which took place on 9 June. The majority of excess badges which were produced were given away free of charge to the miners in Kent and up at Hatfield.

Finally, I still have some badges left. Until now, I have always been able to fulfil orders for badges irrespective of quantity or design (the only problem has been that some badges were produced without numbers due to a mistake by the badge makers), but if no further orders are received in the near future I shall end the operation and give the remaining badges to the miners who we have got to know so well since last summer.

If you would like any more badges please let me know as soon as possible.

DEREK ABRAHAMS

THREE BRIDGES



LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL 

OCTOBER 1985

THANKS

A big thank you on behalf of the Three Bridges branch to all those who brought the various types of strike and miners unity badges. The sale of badges is now at the end and the excess money of £300 has been given to the General Secretary to donate to the orphans fund

DEREK ABRAHAMS

THREE BRIDGES BRANCH













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