Scottish executive who took on striking miners dies at 85

LONDON (AP) — Scottish industrialist Sir Ian MacGregor, who helped crush a year-long coal miners’ strike and break the power of Britain’s unions in the mid-1980s, has died. He was 85.
The former National Coal Board chairman, who lived in Bermuda, suffered a heart attack while staying with friends in Somerset, southwest England. Family friends said he died Sunday, shortly after being hospitalized.
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said MacGregor “brought a breath of fresh air to British industry.”
MacGregor’s career was marked by stints in both the British and U.S. steel industries. In 1980, he was named chairman of the state British Steel Corp., where he gained a reputation as a tough manager by cutting 100,000 jobs to reduce costs.
In March 1984, shortly after becoming chairman of the National Coal Board, miners began a strike after contract talks broke down. Thatcher and MacGregor remained firm, buying cheap foreign coal, and the strike collapsed after a year.
Buoyed by that victory, Thatcher took on other unions and introduced legislation to limit their powers.
Mick McGahey, a former leader of Scottish miners, said Sunday that Thatcher appointed MacGregor “to destroy trade unionism not only in mining, but in Britain.”
MacGregor, who was knighted in 1986, is