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    03 May, 2006

    General Strike

    Today is the 80th anniversary of the start of the General Strike.

    The Independent today has the following from 102 year-old Phillipa Jenkins of Dinas, who was 22 years old and working as a teacher at the time of the General Strike:

    "My most vivid memories are of marches and open-air meetings. I remember being scared when the 'blacklegs' [strike-breakers]were set upon.

    "I was teaching locally, so my salary was OK. I was one of the lucky ones. But my whole family was heavily connected with mining - my father and grandfather worked in Dinas pit . My grandfather was killed underground.People were very kind and rallied round. Shopkeepers worked hard to help people and there were soup kitchens set up. The local chapel helped too and people formed jazz bands and held carnivals to kept up morale.

    "The miners were in such a sorry state: hungry and bedraggled - and uncaring mine owners living in posh houses set up a lot of resentment. I believe the General Strike taught me that there are harsh times in life and things can get out of control. I supported the strike. The coal owners wanted to cut the wages. A lot of people were left without jobs.

    "People who had taken part in the strike were victimised and lived in poverty. Suicides were prevalent. Surrendering was very humiliating, but the people of Rhondda never forgot the struggle and the roots of socialism were born.

    "People resented authority but respected fair play and wanted to change things for their children. Ultimately the trade union movement was stronger for it."

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.