"Ian Isaac's book, although primarily an account of his role in the South Wales coalfield and NUM from 1974 to 1991, … shows that there could have been a better outcome that would have greatly improved the lives of the majority of people living in the UK.”

Ken Smith, Chairman of the NUJ in Wales.


“This book gives a full and unique flavour of the battles over the future of coal in the South Wales area, while also setting it in a context of the wider national and international political developments of the time.”

Phil White Former Tower Colliery Director.

When we were Miners

A book by Ian Isaac,(to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the ending of the 1984-85 miners’ strike).

Outline: The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was a pivotal moment in Welsh history that changed the character and outlook of valley communities irreversibly. Ian Isaac was in the frontline of that epic and bitter struggle to retain the mining industry and to save valley communities from destruction.

In this personal account, Ian Isaac recalls what it was like to be an area leader of the South Wales Miners before, during and after the strike. He recalls the battles during that period from his position as a member of the South Wales National Union of Miners executive from 1983 to 1988, and as lodge secretary of St John’s Lodge NUM in Maesteg from  1978 to 1986.
The book recounts the build-up to the 1984-85 strike, the colossal struggles, solidarity and humour of the miners and their communities during the strike, and the enduring bitterness that the defeat of the strike brought, along with a devastating economic and social aftermath in the vastly changed world of the former mining communities.

When we were miners Ian Isaac stood for President of the South Wales NUM with the support of his lodge at the same time as conducting a high profile campaign to keep St John’s colliery open in 1985. Ian worked in the mining industry for 15 years from 1974 to 1989. He was one of the youngest ever full-time officers in the NUM becoming full time paid NUM Lodge Secretary at the age of 26 and NUM Area Executive Council member at 31.