ABSTRACT

‘Picketing of pits was both violent and intimidating. Most men arrived for work in ones and twos whereas the pickets often numbered fifty or a hundred. It takes tremendous courage for a man to force his way through a threatening line of pickets who outnumber him so dramatically. One of the few pieces of advice for pickets came in a circular from Sheffield from the National Co-ordinating Committee on 26 June 1984. It said, ‘all areas are requested to advise their pickets to be properly protected by the wearing of industrial type footwear and clothing, and, if possible, safety helmets. In practice the concept was rejected by the electricity unions and even where picket lines were physically established they were mostly ignored, as they were in a number of other industries, principally steel. Jimmy Millar, the Markham Main branch secretary, says the reason they picketed was because the branch had voted to do so.