49 Facts About Arthur Scargill


Arthur Scargill was born on 11 January 1938 and is a British trade unionist who was President of the National Union of Mineworkers from 1982 to 2002.


Arthur Scargill is best known for leading the UK miners' strike, a major event in the history of the British labour movement.


Arthur Scargill led an unofficial strike in 1969, and played a key organising role during the strikes of 1972 and 1974, the latter of which played a part in the downfall of Edward Heath's Conservative government.


Arthur Scargill was born in Worsbrough Dale near Barnsley, West Riding of Yorkshire.


Arthur Scargill's father, Harold, was a miner and a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain.


Arthur Scargill's mother, Alice, was a professional cook.


Arthur Scargill did not take the Eleven-Plus exam and went to Worsbrough Dale School.

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Arthur Scargill left school in 1953 at fifteen years old to work as a coal miner at Woolley Colliery, where he worked for nineteen years.


Arthur Scargill joined the Young Communist League in 1955, becoming its Yorkshire District Chair in 1956 and shortly after a member of its National Executive Committee.


In 1961, Arthur Scargill was elected a member of the Woolley NUM Branch Committee.


Arthur Scargill regularly attended Workers' Educational Association classes and Co-operative Party educational programmes, and in 1962, undertook a three-year, part-time course at the University of Leeds, where he studied economics, industrial relations and social history.


Arthur Scargill opposed civilian nuclear power and, during the first Wilson ministry, became highly critical of the government's energy policy.


Arthur Scargill became involved in the Yorkshire Left, a group of left-wing activists involved in the Yorkshire region of the NUM, its largest region.


Arthur Scargill played an important role in the miners' strike of 1972 and was involved in the mass picket at Saltley Gate in Birmingham.


Arthur Scargill was a leader of the unofficial strike in 1969, which began in Yorkshire and spread across the country.


Arthur Scargill had challenged Sam Bullough, the President of the Yorkshire area NUM, to act on the working hours of surface workers, given that the union's conference had passed a resolution that their hours be shortened the previous year.


Arthur Scargill saw this strike as a turning point in the union's attitude to militancy.


Arthur Scargill gained fame for using the tactic to win the Battle of Saltley Gate in 1972, and made it his main tactical device in the 1984 strike.


In 1973, Arthur Scargill was elected to the full-time post of compensation agent in the Yorkshire NUM.


Arthur Scargill was involved in a High Court case in 1978 that set a precedent in UK labour law, known as Roebuck v NUM No 2.


The judge Sir Sydney Templeman held that it was unlawful that union members were disciplined by the NUM disciplinary panel, which Arthur Scargill chaired, for appearing as witnesses testifying against Arthur Scargill in a libel case.


Arthur Scargill had, before becoming president, favoured moving the head office of the NUM out of London, which he described as a "prostituting place".


Arthur Scargill subsequently decided to move to Sheffield, and said that he had spoken to each member of staff to ask them to move to Sheffield.


The section under "staff procedures" details how Arthur Scargill monitored head office staff:.


Arthur Scargill was a very vocal opponent of Thatcher's Conservative government, frequently appearing on television to attack it.

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Arthur Scargill claimed that the government had a long-term strategy to destroy the industry by closing unprofitable pits, and that it listed pits it wanted to close each year.


Arthur Scargill never balloted NUM members for a strike; this was seen as an erosion of democracy within the union, but the role of ballots in decision-making had been made very unclear after previous leader, Joe Gormley, had ignored two ballots over wage reforms, and his decisions had been upheld after appeals to court were made.


Many politicians, including the then Labour leader Neil Kinnock, believed Arthur Scargill had made a huge mistake in calling the strike in the summer rather than in the winter.


Arthur Scargill was often accompanied by his then wife Anne Harper to speak at picket lines and to media appearances; Harper was simultaneously involved in founding and leading the National Women Against Pit Closures movement.


Many found Arthur Scargill inspiring; many others found him frankly scary.


Arthur Scargill had been a Communist and retained strong Marxist views and a penchant for denouncing anyone who disagreed with him as a traitor.


Arthur Scargill had indeed been elected by a vast margin and he set about turning the NUM's once moderate executive into a reliably militant group.


Exciting, witty Arthur Scargill brought coalmining to a close in Britain far faster than would have happened had the NUM been led by some prevaricating, dreary old-style union hack.


Arthur Scargill had no means of calling a strike in Yorkshire.


Arthur Scargill's comments followed a question in the Commons from Labour MP Lisa Nandy, who said the miners and their families deserved an apology for the mine closures.


Arthur Scargill stepped down from leadership of the NUM at the end of July 2002, to become the honorary president.


An internal NUM report by Gavin Lightman QC found that Arthur Scargill had used some of the Libyan money to pay for improvements to his bungalow but not to pay off his mortgage, and stated that Arthur Scargill's failure to make a full report on the Soviet money donated for the Welsh miners was "a remarkable breach of duty" and that he should repay the money back to the NUM.


Arthur Scargill accepted Lightman's statement that many of his actions suffered from a lack of professional advice, which he was unwilling to be bound by.


Arthur Scargill reached an agreement to repay money to the NUM shortly after this.


The South Wales area leader, Des Dutfield, moved that Arthur Scargill should stand down and face re-election, but the motion was defeated.


In 1993, Arthur Scargill tried to use Thatcher's flagship Right to Buy scheme to buy a flat on the Barbican estate in central London.


Arthur Scargill's application was refused because the flat in the Barbican Estate's Shakespeare Tower was not Scargill's primary residence.


Arthur Scargill criticised Poland's Solidarity calling it an "anti-socialist organisation which desires the overthrow of a socialist state", which Arthur Scargill saw as deformed but reformable.


The Guardian in February 2014 said that Arthur Scargill had become a recluse.


Arthur Scargill was not attending any of the events to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the 1984 strike at the NUM.

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Arthur Scargill gave a rare television interview to ITV News at that time.


In 2017, Arthur Scargill spoke at an event in Cardiff setting out how British manufacturing could be rebuilt after Britain had left the European Union.


Arthur Scargill called for the cotton mills, steel plants and mines to be re-opened and that under EU rules, the government had not been able to subsidise the coal mines.


Arthur Scargill supported the 2022 United Kingdom railway strike, joining an RMT picket line in Wakefield on 21 June 2022.