Miners’ Strike

Great night in Godre’rgraig Workingmen’s club on Friday to commemorate the start of the miners’ strike 30 years ago. Rousing performances from Cor Y Gyrlais and young soloists Emyr and Aled Myers, accompanied by Huw Parkman, with contributions from Terry Thomas and Tyrone O’Sullivan reminding everyone of the tremendous fight the miners’, their wives, families and the whole south Wales pit communities put up against Thatcher and her Government. Big thank you to Jacky Myers and Brian Hastie for organising the evening with proceeds going to CATCH Foodbank.

Miners Strike ‘Truth Must Be Out’ Says Hain

Neath MP Peter Hain has demanded that the Government ‘come clean’ on the truth behind the year long miners’ strike. ‘The truth must be out’ he demanded.

Newly released 1984 official Government papers have revealed the true scale of the attack on ordinary miners and their families in South Wales valley communities by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, claims Mr Hain.

‘It was confirmed that, despite denials, at the time there was a secret plan to close 75 pits at the cost of some 65,000 jobs, that the Conservative government sought to influence police tactics to escalate the dispute and Mrs Thatcher even actively considered declaring a state of emergency and deploying the army to defeat the miners, their families and the unions,’ he said.

‘We now know the miners’ strike was not simply an industrial dispute but – as many of us thought at the time – the consequence of government policy driven by an economic ideology which sought the destruction of a way of life in coal communities in our Valleys.

He backed Labour’s campaign, ‘Justice for the Coalfields’, calling on the Government to do three things:

Make a formal apology for the actions of the previous Conservative Government during the time of the strike

Set out all details of the interactions between the Government and the police at the time of the strike

Release all information about government-police communications specifically around the orchestrated police attack on striking miners at Orgreave pit in Yorkshire, with a proper investigation

Hefina Headon – Heart of our Valleys

A Seven Sisters woman who organised community support during the year long Miners Strike of 1984-5 has been hailed by Neath MP for being a ‘heart of our Valleys’.

Hefina Headon died a week ago after a long illness and her funeral will be held at Llwydcoed Crematorium this Thursday.

In a tribute Peter Hain said: ‘Like me, many local people were very sad to learn of Hefina’s death after a serious illness.

‘Her service to the community and the Labour Party was fantastic and many were in debt to her for her hard work and care for others. As a Labour stalwart, Hefina served as Treasurer of the Seven Sisters Branch and was an active ward member. She also showed me tremendous personal support for which I will forever be grateful. I will always remember with great fondness Hefina holding the Neath, Dulais and Swansea Valley Women’s Support Group banner from the 1986-5 Miners Strike outside Parliament when I was first introduced as Neath’s MP.

‘I know of the tireless activity she undertook during the strike to support the miners and their families who were then suffering so badly. The courage and determination she showed with many other local women was an inspiration at a terrible time. For this vital contribution and all her other selfless community work, her name will stand proud forever. She was a heart of our Welsh Valley communities, such a colourful, outgoing character that she brought so much bubbly happiness to everyone with whom she came into contact.’

The funeral will be at Llwydcoed Crematorium on Thursday October 17 at 12 noon.