The first miners’ strike since 1926 began Jan to Feb 1972 over wages and a large pay rise was granted finally. During the strike the various jobs I did are listed. NACODS members worked normally.
Another National Strike
A further National Strike occurred, lasting from 11th Febuary to 11th March 1974. This time the Deputies NACODS union withheld their labour and Management staff BACM kept the pits open on safety cover only. Further increase in wages and other concessions granted.
On most these jobs I was accompanied by another, including the Chief Mining Engineer,
Director of Opencast, Undermanager, Area planners and other departments at HQ and the colliery but on two occasions I was underground some 3 and 4 miles in bye on my own,
because someone had not turned up, but the job had to be done. I used to phone through to
the Control room about every hour to inform them where I was. On the last occasion I had to
use the last man push button, operated from inside the cage to ring off and also to inform the
engine man and Banksman that the pit was clear.
The only job I did not do was winding and that was the first job they asked me to do, I said I would do it if they could not get anybody else. However several other volunteers did thus allowing me to do the jobs listed below.
'I might add that I was roster manager'.
It was found by the senior staff personnel who were with me that some men had a 'cushy
number' and that in future some would have to do another job as well.
The 1984-1985 Strike
During the strike when Nottinghamshire miners were working, apart from normal surveying duties on surface, office and underground, my part to keep the pit open from Jan 1984 to Mar 1985 at weekends, Bank holidays mainly on afternoon shift and including Boxing Day (you never get that back). Ollerton was besieged several times by many flying pickets from Yorkshire.
They had shot themselves in the foot! If we had not done those jobs we would never have found out what the men actually did.
Over the 3 strike periods 1972, 1974, 1984/85 and Overtime bans, and NACODS strike in May 1985 I did 29 different jobs, probably more than any other person. At the end of the day Ollerton colliery was closed prematurely and I believe deliberately to allow Thoresby Colliery to continue as the reserves there in Parkgate were depleting fast. A further 10 years of production from the old Ollerton take was worked from Thoresby
- Landsale weighing coal lorries
- Riding 'Shotgun' for payroll from Mansfield Nat West Bank
- Putting up last week’s wages in envelopes
- Oiling Winding Rope
- Cleaning out a blocked culvert on tip
- Cleaning out a settling pond
- Cleaning out the boiler blowdown
- Sanding and checking rail lines on the sidings
- Lowering wagons on sidings under the screens
- Working on the screens filling wagons
- 2 lectures to Deputies on surveying and plans
1974 and 1984/85
- Assisting loading coal to boilers from sidings by loco
- Boiler firing and removing ashes, on shifts
- Assisting to repair a broken feed chain inside a red hot boiler
- Banksman's duties at No2 pit top
- Shaft exams at No1 and No2
- Onsetting in No2 pit bottom
- Pumping water in No2 pit bottom (burst pipe in shaft)
- Methane pump inbye at North return
- Booster fan readings every 1/2 hour at Top Hard 34s North side
- Roadway exams and air samples re heating at 20s, 4 miles inbye
- Manrider driving at Draper's Paddy
- Main surface fan readings every 1/2 hour and booking
- Lamp room duties, charging cap lamps and servicing oil lamps
- Power house readings and bookings every hour
- Compressors on surface
- Security around perimeter of colliery
- Control Room duties, monitors and telephone
29. Auxiliary fan examinations at development headings
30. Trunk Conveyors examinations