UK college rugby team forced to cancel miners′ strike party | News | DW | 27.11.2017
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

United Kingdom

UK college rugby team forced to cancel miners' strike party

Student athletes at Durham University's Trevelyan College have been criticized for the strike-themed pub crawl. The industrial action in the mid-1980s caused widespread unrest, violence and poverty in parts of Britain.

Striking miners and policemen

Police and miners at Orgreave Colliery in 1984

Rugby players at Durham University in the UK were forced to cancel a miners'-strike theme pub crawl, British media reported on Monday. University officials decried the Trevelyan College rugby team's actions as "wholly unacceptable."

Originally planned for Wednesday, the event asked the forwards to dress as miners - "flat caps, filth and a general disregard for personal safety" - "working-class-beating" policeman and the backs as members of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's government. 

"Think pickaxes. Think headlamps. Think 12-percent unemployment," read the event description on Facebook.

The description also said it would be "a confrontation higher than the Battle of Orgreave" – a reference to one of the most severe clashes during Britain's year-long miners' strike that caused widespread civil unrest in the mid-1980s.

The reaction on Twitter was scathing, with many pointing out how insensitive the theme is.

"Durham University and Trevelyan College utterly deplore this event, which is wholly unacceptable," the university said in a statement.

"The event has been cancelled by the students concerned. We are speaking to those students and we are considering what further action to take in due course."

Margaret Thatcher

In March 1984, the National Coal Board under Thatcher (above) proposed a plan to close 20 mines, cutting 20,000 jobs and prompting union leaders to call a strike

Lasting impact on society

The coalminers' strike of 1984-85 was the most significant industrial action in modern British history and has had a lasting impact on society.

A standoff between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Thatcher's conservative government over plans to close most the country's coal mines led to violent confrontations between striking workers and police, tens of thousands of jobs were lost, and the affected communities experienced a steep decline in their standard of living. Two miners were killed while picketing.

The Durham Miners' Association said on twitter that it was "pleased" that the university had taken "swift and appropriate action."

The affects of the strikes and the pit closures can still be felt in Britain today, where opinion on the action is still deeply divided and former mining communities remain some of the country's poorest areas.

One of the hardest-hit areas was around Durham in the north of England, where many villages sprang up around the mining industry in the 19th century.

The Durham Miners' Association said it was "appalled" and "hurt" by the rugby team's behavior but they were "pleased that Durham University and Trevelyan College took very prompt and appropriate action by cancelling this event."

DW recommends