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Miners' Film, The (1975)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Miners and their families describe the human cost of coal mining. They are seen at work, both underground and at the shift's end, and at home. Several complain of the effect inflation has on their standard of living. Miners explain that the aim of their overtime ban is to reduce coal stocks and prevent the government riding out a future strike. A miner's wife is seen at her evening job of cleaning the mine's office.

Various retired miners and their wives describe their current standard of living and their experiences of the 1926 general strike. Public protests and rallies from the general strike. An old Welsh miner states that the high rate of illiteracy at the time prevented the strikers' demands being advanced more forcefully. Shots from the 1920s of men queuing for work. A miner narrates how he denied being able to sing 'The Red Flag' in order to get work. A union official recalls the consequences of the general strike for the organisation of miners.

Miners cast their votes for strike action and the announcement of the strike. The planning of picketing: pickets describe the support they have received; pickets negotiate with lorry drivers to turn them away from coal depots; police attempt to form a human barrier against pickets. Various scenes outside Saltley coal depot, which pickets closed. Ted Heath is seen at a press conference calling for national unity and support for his policies. The downfall of his government is narrated and the old Welsh miner calls the 1974 strike the miners' first realisation of their power. The film ends with a call to abolish capitalism.