Remembering the Miners' Strike 30 years on

Today marks 30 years since the start of the national Miners' Strike. Walkouts began on the 5th March 1984 in protest over proposed pit closures. On 12th March 1984, NUM president Arthur Scargill declared that all members should strike.

Live updates

Remembering the Miners' strike

Arthur Scargill Credit: PA Wire

Today marks 30 years since the start of the national Miners' strike. Walkouts began on the 5th March 1984 in protest over proposed pit closures and on 12th March 1984, Arthur Scargill, president of the National Union of Mineworkers, declared that all members of the NUM should go out on strike.

The South Wales coalfield contained some of the staunchest supporters of industrial action. At the start of the strike, 99.6 per cent of the 21,500 workers joined the action. This reduced to 93 per cent by the end. No other area retained such a level of support.

With so many men not working in an area which was almost single-industry, South Wales suffered hugely with deprivation and community breakdown. Some areas broke down irretrievably, with the effects visible for years afterwards in ghost villages in the Valleys.

The dispute was long and bitter. One incident in Wales that may have accelerated the end of the strike was killing of David Wilkie. He was a taxi driver who was driving a working miner, David Williams, to the Merthyr Vale mine with a police escort on 30 November 1984.

Two striking miners dropped a 21kg concrete block from a bridge onto the car, killing Wilkie instantly.

The official end of the strike came on 3 March 1985, when a vote was passed to return to work even without a new agreement with management. The pits closed rapidly over the next few years, and in 1994 the industry was finally privatised.

In 1995 miners famously bought the Tower Colliery in the Cynon Valley, which opened in 1805, to keep it as a going concern. It became Wales' only working coal mine, and the oldest continuously worked deep-coal mine in the UK.

Remembering the Miners' Strike in Maerdy

Maerdy was the last surviving deep mine in the Rhondda Credit: ITV Wales News

Today marks 30 years since the first walkout in the Miners' Strike - a defining moment in the history of Wales.

ITV News has been looking at one community, Maerdy, to see the impact of the strike, and the changes that are still felt decades on.

Maerdy thirty years on Credit: ITV Wales News

Opened in 1875, Maerdy was the last surviving deep mine in the world-famous Rhondda coalfield.

It effectively closed in 1985, although its coal continued to be brought to the surface via Tower Colliery at Hirwaun until 1990.

The mine effectively closed in 1985 Credit: ITV Wales News

In 2011 residents of Maerdy launched an appeal to create a memorial to commemorate the mining heritage of the Rhondda.


  1. Carole Green

Miner's strike led women in Wales into action

Thirty years ago women were at the heart of the miner's strike in Wales, the most bitter industrial dispute of late twentieth century. It lasted a year - but without the women's efforts the miners would have been forced back to work within weeks.

The women organised food collections, raised money and many joined picket lines for the first time and in turn, their own lives were radically changed. ITV Wales News looked back with one of those women.

Former HTV journalist speaks out about Miners' Strike 30 years on

Thirty years ago this week the biggest upheaval in post war Welsh history erupted - the 1984 Miners’ Strike.

It was an extraordinary twelve months - a dispute which marked the beginning of the end for an industry which had been at the heart of Welsh pride and culture for well over a century.

Sparked by the economics of coal mining, it became a fight about union power which led to bitter divisions in South Wales colliery communities which last to this day. In the autumn of 1984, the conciliation service ACAS attempted to break the deadlock between the NUM and the Government

HTV’s former industrial correspondent Paul Starling had excellent contacts with both sides and ACAS. In tonight’s Wales this Week he reveals how the late head of ACAS, Pat Lowry, had told him the conciliation team had been amazed the NUM didn’t take the chance to end the strike at that time.


Back to top

Latest ITV News reports