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Less tangible - though, of course, it has been a central issue at stake in the strike - would be the waste of human resources, the undermining of cultural autonomy. Contraction in the mining industry involves the destruction of a whole heritage of nontransferable skills: the sudden and total loss of control of a working environment which, notwithstanding mechanisation of the coal face, has remained to a very large degree in the hands of the self-regulating work group.