Coal strike to cost Peabody ' pounds 5m a month'
Sunday 04 July 1993
Both sides are accusing the other of refusing to come to the negotiating table. It could be a long strike which, London analysts reckon, might cost Hanson pounds 5m a month in profit.
Last week, UMWA officials were in London trying to convince City analysts of the validity of their case. They say that some US mine owners are trying to undermine the union by refusing to employ its members when they open new pits. Kenneth Zinn, the union's special projects co-ordinator, accused Peabody of doing this in Indiana, in contravention of a 1988 agreement.
Peabody has set up a new company called Premier Coal which, according to Mr Zinn, plans to produce 40 million tons of coal over 16 years. He said it would operate in a region of Indiana where unionised Peabody pits are likely to close down, and that it would not employ UMWA members.
The last agreement with the employers, signed in 1988, laid down that three out of five new mining jobs should go to UMWA members, but Mr Zinn said: 'The company is saying that agreement was with Peabody Coal, but this is Premier so we don't have to employ UMWA people.'
Derek Bonham, Hanson's chief executive, said Premier would not open any mines under existing contracts, because they would not be profitable. 'Non-union mines have much greater productivity. It comes down to the same problems as in Britain of demarcation versus team effort.' He said that the Clean Air Act had added to cost pressures.
The UMWA lost members rapidly during the 1980s, and is fighting to re-establish its position. Last year it suggested to members of the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA) that a new type of contract should be drawn up, which would use what Mr Zinn described as a '21st century model of non-confrontational labour relations' to increase productivity.
The union also requested information about the corporate structure of various mining companies, and it was the refusal to give this that led to a four-week strike in February. Hanson said it lost pounds 15m as a result of that action.
Since then, the issue has switched to 'double breasting' - opening non-union mines as union ones close. 'The BCOA refused to address the over- arching issue, that while our hard work has allowed companies to increase profits, these have been used to expand non- UMWA jobs,' Mr Zinn said.
He claimed UMWA mines had cut the real cost of coal by two thirds since 1978, and that the union had never resisted the introduction of flexible working practices.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 Chelsea victory parade: Chelsea mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 3 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 4 Woman, 21, dies after taking contraceptive pill that 'caused fatal blood clot'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
How China's richest man Li Hejun lost $15bn in an hour - and made a fortune
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...