Another 2,000 miners lose jobs as four more collieries go: Government publishes Bill to privatise British Coal

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The Independent Online
ALMOST 2,000 miners will lose their jobs within days as British Coal ceases production at four collieries. The losses mean that about 24,000 miners will have left the industry since October 1992 when the Government sparked a political crisis by announcing the closure of up to 31 deep mines.

With the 2,600 non-mining workers who have also left, the total job losses in the industry are close to 30,000 - the number the Government threatened to sack.

Three pits cease production today. They are Bentley and Hatfield near Doncaster and Silverdale in Staffordshire. All three are among 12 mines that were reprieved after the Government's White Paper on the coal industry earlier this year. The fourth pit, Littleton, Staffordshire, where production stops next week, is one of British Coal's supposedly safe core of 19 mines.

Yesterday the Government published the Bill that will privatise British Coal, which it plans to sell in up to five packages. It has undertaken to ensure that pensions from pre-privatisation service will increase in line with inflation. The schemes - the mineworkers' and the British Coal staff superannuation - are valued at about pounds 14bn. They will be closed to new members at privatisation and private-sector owners of the industry will not be able to participate.

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