TUC agrees to back Orgreave campaigners

images-57by Peter Lazenby Northern Reporter, Morning Star

The TUC declared it will throw its support behind the Sheffield-based Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign today.

The union body will use its nationwide communications network to promote the campaign and encourage union members to sign an online petition which will force a Commons debate if it reaches 100,000 signatures.

The Orgreave campaigners want an independent public inquiry into one of the most infamous incidents in 20th century labour and trade union history.

Thousands of striking miners were lured into a field near Orgreave cokeworks in South Yorkshire on June 19 1984, during the miners’ strike against pit closures.

Lightly clad on a hot summer’s day, they were then attacked by police cavalry.

The cavalry charge was followed by an attack by police on foot. Unarmed miners were beaten as they fled before they regrouped and retaliated.

But BBC TV news footage was edited to show the miners attacking first and police retaliating.

Charges of rioting against miners were thrown out of court when defence lawyers uncovered evidence of police collusion in the preparation of statements.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “In the battle of Orgreave, the first casualty was truth.

“From the discredited police statements to the manipulation of TV footage, miners were demonised for defending jobs and communities. From Shrewsbury to Hillsborough it’s the same pattern.

“I’m proud to support the call for a public inquiry to find out the facts and call those responsible to account. Working people deserve justice and none of us should rest until we get it.”

The campaign was prompted in November last year by the success of Liverpool families campaigning for justice over the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died at Sheffield Wednesday’s football stadium.

For 23 years the families worked to discover the truth and staged an independent public inquiry identifying police culpability and a cover-up.

South Yorkshire Police’s role in Hillsborough is now being investigated by the Police Complaints Commission.

This entry was posted in Campaign For Trade Union Freedom News, UK Employment Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.