That was the week that was: Jan 9-15 1972

Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from The Aviator in which he played Howard Hughes who made a rare appearance this week in 1972.
Leonardo DiCaprio in a scene from The Aviator in which he played Howard Hughes who made a rare appearance this week in 1972.
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At midnight on January 9, 1972, 280,000 British coal miners walked out in their first national strike for 50 years. Negotiations with the National Coal Board had broken down with a 7.9 per cent pay offer and back-dated productivity deal on the table.

At midnight on January 9, 1972, 280,000 British coal miners walked out in their first national strike for 50 years. Negotiations with the National Coal Board had broken down with a 7.9 per cent pay offer and back-dated productivity deal on the table.

Miners’ leaders refused to put this to a vote, showing their intention to break the government’s unofficial eight per cent pay limit. They were demanding a £9 pay rise on the average weekly take-home wage of £25. Miners at 289 pits had been following an overtime ban since November, which the NCB estimated had cost the industry around £20m. With the strike imminent, the Board withdrew its offer.

NCB chairman Derek Ezra said the action would cost the the industry £12m a week, so calculations on which the offer had been based were now invalid.

“The only way of recouping the money would then have been to put up coal prices by at least 15 per cent,” said Mr Ezra.

The Trades Union Congress was meeting transport unions to discuss support for the strike, and the Labour Party pledged support for the miners in their “struggle to improve their living standards”. Meanwhile, National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Lawrence Daly said stocks would quickly run down at coal-fuelled power stations - which supplied 75 per cent of the country’s electricity.

Vietcong booby trap tactics were being studied by IRA bomb squads who were being supplied with restricted US Army documents smuggled into Northern Ireland, according to a Yorkshire Post exclusive.

Hundreds of the documents had been seized along with caches of explosives, according to a British Army spokesman.

One such document was a manual which explained how to rig up explosives to everyday items such as a bicycle. Anti-terrorism forces in the Six Counties said they were worried that the IRA’s terrorism campaign might be extended to such devices.

Oil exporting countries demanded an immediate increase of £160m from oil companies this week, plus a further £31m a month in future to make up for the devaluation of the US dollar.

The 11 countries represented by OPEC said the £160m would cover lost income incurred since President Nixon’s new economic measures were announced the previous August.

Mysterious multimillionaire Howard Hughes emerged from 15 years of self-imposed seclusion to denounce a forthcoming ‘autobiography’ as fake and announce that he wished to re-enter the world of movie-making and flying fast airplanes.

The once-dashing pioneer aviator made his announcement in a telephone conference with journalists from a heavily-guarded hotel suite in the Bahamas.

More women were joining West Yorkshire Police, chief constable Ronald Gregory told a meeting of the county’s police authority. He said a new lightweight uniform had helped with recruitment

In two months 12 men and five women had joined the force. In October 1970 the force had been short of 994 officers, but this had now been reduced to 837.

“We would like to think that the new uniform has something to do with it (the increase in female recruitment),” said Mr Gregory.

He added that although crime had increased by three per cent in the previous year, the detection rate had gone up from 49.7 per cent to 54.3 per cent. Violence had increased by 19 per cent and robbery by 23 per cent, but the incidence of reported house burglary had declined by 6.8 per cent.