Channel 4 is a state-owned national TV channel in the U.K., that has been broadcast since 1982. In this 2014 clip, Jon Snow, one of Britain’s best known journalists and TV presenters, looks at the Cortonwood Colliery in Yorkshire’s yearlong national strike. The strike lasted 363 days, and at its height, over 142,000 mineworkers went on strike. Coal mining was a major industry, particularly in the North of England and Wales. The ending of the industry was viewed as reflective of the North-South economic, cultural, and political divide in the U.K., where wealth was concentrated in the South with ongoing effects on the standards of living, access to education, and access to healthcare. In the video, reporter Andy Davies visits a mining town in South Wales to discuss the history of the strike. He speaks to Alan Sandel, a miner and union official in 1984. Davis also speaks to Dot, who led a women’s support group in the mid-80s for the miners. It ends with a discussion of whether the strikers lost or won, while the mines closed a few months after the end of the strike, many miners viewed it as a win based on the strength displayed by the miners during a time when the U.K. government was working to end labour unions.
Which group is this video about?
What role did Dot, Angela, and Donna play during the strike? Do you think their role was more, less, or equally as important as the miners?
What two perspectives about the success of the strike does the video present?
How does the role of union work seen here reflect our understanding of unions in the U.S.? OR Does the North-South divide in the U.K. remind you of any class divides in the U.S./your state/your city?