FIFE Council has backed the recent announcement that men convicted of offences relating to the miners’ strike are set to be pardoned.
The local authority will now ask the Scottish Parliament to consider compensation for unjustified loss of livelihoods and pension rights and request that is presses the UK Government for a UK-wide public enquiry.
The move comes after a motion was raised by Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor Alice McGarry at Thursday’s full council meeting.
She had urged her fellow councillors to back her motion welcoming the independent review of the Impact of Policing on Affected Communities in Scotland during the Miners’ Strike.
The report concluded that it was impossible to separate out the impact of policing during the strike from the many other factors at play during that time and recognised that, despite the constitutional, legal and cultural landscapes in Scotland having changed fundamentally in the past 35 years.
The motion asked the administration’s co-leaders to pass on the council’s vires to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. It added: “We welcome the single recommendation in the Report which is that “subject to establishing suitable criteria, the Scottish Government should introduce legislation to pardon men convicted for matters related to the Strike”.
“Fife Council recognises the positive impact that this will have on ex miners, the families of deceased miners and the mining communities in Fife and we ask that the Scottish Government proceeds to introduce the necessary legislation as soon as practicable.
“In its consideration of this legislation, we ask the Scottish Parliament to interpret the recommendation as widely as possible and to also consider the issue of compensation for unjustified loss of livelihoods and pension rights.
“We also recognise the need for a UK wide public inquiry into the Strike and ask the Scottish Government to continue to press the UK Government to undertake this.”
Cllr McGarry said she was elected to Fife Regional Council just after the strike.
“At that time, many elected members worked in the mining industry,” she said. “Despite the passage of time and constitutional changes, the strength and feeling of the time continues to be felt in small mining communities to this very day.
“The sense of injustice and anger and loss is still felt.”
West Fife and Coastal Villages Councillor Kate Stewart backed the motion and said she had volunteered at local community centre in Oakley to make sure families were fed during the strike.
“Over 30 years on and I am still issuing food in communities around the village,” she said. “I would like to thank all those involved in bringing the review forward. The NUM, legal team and police and the women who supported the miners’ strike as well.”
Councillor Bobby Clelland said the delays in gaining progress could not be ignored.
“Thirty five years have passed since the strike finished and many miners were arrested for the first and only time in their lives,” he said, providing councillors with examples of several West Fife miners who were arrested and who suffered a variety of fates as a result including varied fines and job losses.
“All my examples had never been in any trouble before or after the strike. Things happened that should never have happened. They were not normal times and often it was down to luck if you were lifted out of the picket lines and again if you were charged and prosecuted.”