Wistow Branch of the Yorkshire Area of the National Union of Mineworkers
The branch catered for mineworkers at Wistow Colliery, part of the Selby complex, at Wistow, north of Selby.
The banner was made by Turtle and Pearce around 1983 for approximately £2,000 and measures 210cm wide and 255cm high.
It was the only one of the Selby Coalfield branch banners that was made before the strike, which explains the somewhat “non-political” design compared to the other Selby branch banners.
Dennis Skinner was not part of the original design. Formally it was a picture of the Wistow pit headgear. After the strike the Branch agreed a change and an image of Dennis was decided upon in recognition of his work on behalf of the NUM in general and his efforts during the strike in particular. His image was painted in 1985 by Jackie Glover, a miner at Lofthouse and Wistow collieries. Dennis came to an event at the social club and it was re-dedicated with a blessing from the industrial chaplain.
The banner was on display at Selby Abbey and is now stored at the NUM Offices at Barnsley.
Thanks to Chris Kitchen Jnr, Richard Riggs and Danny O’Connor for assistance and Ken Rowley, branch official from 1982 until the closure of the pit and redundancy in 2004, for information.
The Miners’ Strike of 1984/5
The Miners’ Strike of 1984/5 was in defence of the coal industry, to protect jobs and communities.
By the end of the strike in March 1985, 200 mineworkers served time in prison or custody, 20,000 people had been injured and 966 mineworkers had been sacked by the NCB. Two members of the National Union of Mineworkers were killed on picket lines; David Jones on the 15th March 1984 and Joe Green on the 15th June 1984. Three people died digging for coal during the winter.
The National Justice for Mineworkers Campaign
The National Justice for Mineworkers Campaign was formed at the 1985 Labour Conference and was launched at the Albert Hall, London, in October 1986.
The objectives of the campaign are to keep the issue of those victimised miners to the forefront of the labour and trade union movement and to raise money to alleviate hardship among the families of the victimised men.
The 966 men were originally sacked for no more than honouring picket lines, defending their jobs and pit communities, their class and the future of their children. Only a small number had been dismissed for offences against the person or damage to property. Many miners subsequently cleared by the courts were not re-instated and neither were many more who successfully won their cases for unfair dismissal at Industrial Tribunals. Many were even blacklisted from getting any work outside the coal industry.
The Justice Campaign is supported by the NUM, Labour Party, TUC conferences and many national & regional unions.
National Justice for Mineworkers Campaign
103 Cliff Road
Email: to be advised
Phone: 01964 532954 & 07816 030236
A minimum of 10p of the purchase price of this card is donated to the NJMC.
Photography by Martin Shakeshaft.
Photography, design and print by unionised labour.
www.martinshakeshaft.com www.kavitagraphics.co.uk www.russellpress.com