Arthur Scargill (born 11 January 1938) is a British trade unionist. He was President of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) from 1982 to 2002. Joining the NUM at the age of nineteen in 1957, he became one of its leading activists in the late 1960s. He led an unofficial strike in 1969, and played a key organising role during the strikes of 1972 and 1974, the latter of which helped in the downfall of Edward Heath’s Conservative government. His views are described as Marxist.A decade later, he led the union through the 1984–85 miners’ strike, a major event in the history of the British labour movement. It turned into a fierce confrontation with the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher in which the miners’ union was defeated. A former Labour Party member, he is now the party leader of the Socialist Labour Party (SLP), which he founded in 1996.