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Justice served for convicted Scottish miners

This news post is almost 2 years old

The workers have campaigned on this issue since the brutal strikes of 1984 and 1985.

Charities and campaigners who have fought for justice for convicted miners in Scotland have welcomed the backing of legislation that would pardon workers after more than three decades of waiting. 

Scotland has become the first of the home nations to pardon former miners convicted of certain offences related to strike action in the 1980s.

The historic legislation passed by MSPs ensures a collective and automatic pardon for miners involved in strike action which extends to members of a miner’s household and other close family members who may also have been convicted.

The legislation was recommended by an independent review, led by John Scott QC, into the impact of policing on Scottish communities during the industrial dispute.

Nicky Wilson, chair of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust in Scotland, said: “We welcome the passing of the Miners' Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament today. 

“This rights an injustice, where law-abiding people who were protecting their communities and industries were unfairly convicted of crimes during the miners strikes of 1984-85. 

“Our work in coalfield communities across Scotland over the past 23 years has shown us the damage the stigma of criminal records has created and we look forward to continuing to support coalfield communities to improve local economies and support wellbeing.”

The Miners’ Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill pardons the offences of breach of the peace, obstructing a police officer, breach of bail and theft which occurred during the 1984-85 strike.

Mr Wilson, who also acts as president of the National Union of Mineworkers (Scotland) (NUM), said the move “removes the stigma of a criminal record given to miners who were striking to save their industry, jobs and communities”.

Those who fought for the review and subsequent legislation welcomed the move, though expressing disappointment at the lack of compensation being offered to those who were convicted. The review did not recommended the Scottish Government should compensate miners.

Former Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who led the Scottish parliamentary campaign for justice for Scottish Miners arrested during the 1984/5 strike, said: “10 years ago we launched the campaign for justice for Scottish Miners arrested during the strike.

"With the outstanding support and determined campaigning by former miners, the NUM, Thompsons solicitors and supportive parliamentarians we have together, delivered this outstanding victory. 

“Whilst it is disappointing that the Scottish Government rejected a compensation scheme for those affected, the state has now recognised these men were the victims of a grave injustice. We now need a UK wide public inquiry. 

“But today is a great day and everyone involved should be proud of the part they played.”