Silver Tongue, the Great Miners’ Strike 1969-70

Silver Tongue, the Great Miners’ Strike 1969-70

Three-channel video into one-channel, 57 min. 2020.

On 9 December 1969, the Great Miners’ Strike broke out in the ore fields of Norrbotten. It was a wildcat strike, during which 4,800 miners at mines operated by LKAB (Loussavaara-Kiirunavaara AB) in Svappavaara, Kiruna and Malmberget downed tools for 57 days. The Great Miners’ Strike was a protest aimed at several parties: the state-owned mining company of LKAB, the miners’ trade union, and LO (the Swedish Trade Union Confederation).

The strike shook the social democratic welfare state and, a few years later, in the 1970s, LO began internal reforms. The most concrete result from the struggle and wildcat strikes of the 1970s has been the Swedish Act on Co-determination in the Workplace, which entered into law in 1976.

Silver Tongue, the Great Miners’ Strike 1969-70 was made possible due to a collaboration between Norrbottens Media and its press photographers, who freelanced for various newspapers in Norrbotten to document the strike: Duff Deutgen, Rolf Ericson, Jacob Forsell, Lennart Norman, Lars Öqvist and many others who did not receive photo bylines. Kiruna Municipality has supported the work with Börje Rönnberg’s photographic works.

Commissioned by ArkDes