Davies Dai Coity
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Dai Coity Davies
Dai Coity Davies spent his entire life in the mining industry of South Wales, firstly as an underground worker at Wern Tarw (Pencoed), then as a full time official of the Wales area of the National Union of Miners. He was elected to the Area Executive of the union in 1955 and became compensation secretary, a post he held until his death.
His father was active in the 1926 general strike and the long miners’ lockout that followed. "I can recall my father being brought home by two policemen....who had beaten him up....set upon by Devon police, with no accusations, nothing said, just beaten up and frog marched through the village, to show those young militants exactly what would happen to them if they didn't curtail their activities.....they'd only just come in there (Pencoed). I think they were trying to show their own strength....he'd been accused of no crime, his only crime was, of course, that he was on strike and not working". The situation in
By the 1950s the veneer of nationalisation of the mines in
The National Coal Board (NCB - or “NC bloody B”, as it was known to miners) had, since 1947, pursued a policy of rationalisation into bigger production units; there had been thirty four closures in South Wales alone up to 1950, many of which had been resisted. Although there had been very many unofficial disputes in the coalfield, a strike by about 15,000 miners now loomed. This was led by Dai Coity Davies, along with Penry Jones and Frank Hayward - all of them from the anthracite area.
The NCB wanted to transfer eighty seven men from Wern Tarw to Llanharan Colliery because of manpower shortages, but also as prelude to closure. While the official coalfield conference failed to back the branch, and the transfer of men went ahead, the campaign ensured that, not only did Wern Tarw go onto outlive Llanharn, but became a catalyst for increased rank and file control over the union and support for the Communist Party.
An unofficial movement headed by the Communist Party and based on the resurrected pre-nationalisation combine committees surfaced. Representatives of 41 lodges (later 68) met at a Neath pub, "The Shakespeare", convened to lay the basis for initial success, which included a ban on overtime on Saturdays for 40,000 out of 100,000 South Wales miners.
It was from this spark that Dai's election to the union’s Executive occurred. He soon became an expert on social security legislation and took a special interest in occupational health of miners. Over many years, Dai gained a well-earned reputation for fighting hard for adequate compensation to be paid to miners who suffered from pneumoconiosis and other mining diseases.
During the 1974 miners strike he spoke at numerous meetings, including at
When Dai Francis retired as general secretary of the
In the late 1970s, Dai was active in "Fightback" a national anti-cuts campaign, primarily focusing on the NHS, and its
In a TV drama about the life of miners’ leader Arthur Cook, Dai played Cook to great acclaim.
Dai helped link health cuts, fight to save the steel and coal industry, but remained concerned about the failure of the Welsh and British TUCs to organise the fight against redundancies.
Even when his health was deteriorating, he sought to play down its impact on his well-being and continued to campaign for his beliefs and never said `no’ to any request for help or advice.
As an obituary in `
Dai died on
Source: `The Fed’ by Hywel Francis; David Smith; Rob Griffiths