ASLEF on Orgreave

01 November 2016

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has spoken out after Home Secretary Amber Rudd ruled out a public inquiry into the way South Yorkshire Police handled the violent clashes between police and miners at the Orgreave coking plant in 1984.

Mick said: ‘I am disappointed, but not surprised. Train drivers were closely involved with miners during the bitter miners’ strike – because coal was moved by freight trains – and our members in ASLEF stood shoulder to shoulder with their comrades in the NUM to make sure that coal didn’t move.

‘In a lot of pit villages, and towns, the work available was either down the pit or on the railway. So train drivers and miners worked with each other, socialised with each other, and lived next door to each other. We saw, and heard, what went on.

‘The brutal behaviour of the police – the same force found to be at fault for the Hillsborough disaster five years later – should be subject to a proper, and public inquiry. The fact that Amber Rudd has ruled this out smacks of a Tory cover-up to prevent the truth coming out.’

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