Late in 1978 grave-diggers in some places joined the strikes that came to be known as the "winter of discontent".
A bunch of distraught, but able-bodied mourners won headlines when they elbowed their way past the pickets at a cemetery and dug a grave themselves. They were denounced as strike-breakers by a local government union official (named Dix as I recall it). "People who do that sort of thing," he said, "are just anti-union."
In another episode some National Health workers said they would allow only "essential" cases into their hospital. They set up a committee headed by one of the telephonists to examine each patient and decide who was ill enough to be admitted.
Tragedy mingled with absurdity in episodes all over the country day after day, week after week. It brought Mrs Thatcher to power.
Now, if we are to take yesterday's TUC pensions debate at its face value, it could all happen again. No fewer than 13 public sector unions, claiming to speak for three million civil servants, nurses, dustmen and who have you, are all rarin' to strike if the Government defies their veto on its efforts to contain the cost of their members' pensions.
Leader after leader proclaimed these members' "anger" and their readiness to strike. Doubtless, some of this was windy conference rhetoric, but not all. It must have taken some serious planning behind the scenes to get 13 unions to deliver a united front.
The Government has already caved in once and abandoned a proposal to raise the civil service pension age to 65 at the first whiff of union hostility. But that was just before the election. It is supposed to be more hard-nosed now. Private sector taxpayers with dwindling pension rights and no chance whatsoever of retiring at 60 must hope it is.
Perhaps Alan Johnson, the respected former union leader who is in charge of this one as Secretary for Trade and Industry, may have a clever wheeze up his sleeve.
If not, don't get the wrong idea. Twenty-seven years ago everyone in the Inland Revenue kept working. They never missed a day.