Michael ‘Mick’ McGahey: Miner, communist and trade union leader

Twentieth Century Communism - ISSN 1758-6437
Volume 2022 Number 23

Michael ‘Mick’ McGahey: Miner, communist and trade union leader
EWAN GIBBS pages 4-34


Michael McGahey was born in the Lanarkshire mining town of Shotts in 1925, a year before the general strike and miners’ lockout. He died in 1999, the year that the Scottish Parliament, which he was credited with playing a leading role in bringing about, was established. McGahey had come to public prominence in the preceding decades as President of the National Union of Mineworkers Scottish Area (NUMSA) and a public face of British miners’ industrial action in the 1970s and 1980s. This paper is based on trade union and archival records, as well as oral testimonies recorded with close comrades of McGahey, including his son, senior Scottish Communists and NUMSA officials. It firstly assesses the foundation of McGahey’s worldview in the context of class struggle, personal and familial hardship and entering the mining industry as a young man. The second section overviews McGahey’s evolution from a colliery activist to a national trade union leader, underlining his willingness to build pragmatic broad left alliances between Labour and Communist affiliated miners. Section three explores the the connection between McGahey’s commitment to Communism and his support for a Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom.

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To cite this article
EWAN GIBBS (2022) Michael ‘Mick’ McGahey: Miner, communist and trade union leader, Twentieth Century Communism, 2022(23), 4-34

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