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Definition of miners' strikes from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

miners' strikes

 
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occasions on which British coal miners have gone on strike, causing major problems for the government. In 1972 the NUM called a strike for wage increases, after a vote by its members. There were power cuts (= interruptions in the supply of electricity) all over Britain, a state of emergency was announced, and the miners won, gaining a large pay increase. In 1974 the miners again voted for a national strike and the Conservative Edward Heath called a general election on the issue of whether the government or the miners had more power in the country. The Conservatives lost the election, and the new Labour government gave the miners a big pay increase, ending the strike. In 1984-5 the miners went on strike again because the National Coal Board, which was in charge of all British mines at the time, planned to close several mines, with the loss of over 20 000 jobs. The strike was seen by the Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, as a test of the new industrial relations laws, which were aimed at reducing the power of trade unions. There was a lot of violence between the miners and the police during the strike, but as it continued more and more miners returned to work, and finally it ended without any agreement being reached. The government therefore won and the National Union of Miners lost. Since then, most of the mines have closed and many miners have lost their jobs.