Miners vote for two pit closures

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The Independent Online
MINERS at Ellington colliery in Northumberland and Ollerton in Nottinghamshire yesterday voted for the closure of their pits with the loss of about 1,800 jobs, writes Mary Fagan.

Workers at another Nottinghamshire pit, Annesley, were also voting last night on whether to accept closure or fight for the mine.

The demise of Ellington, which closes next Friday, ends deep coal-mining in the North-east of England. British Coal blamed geological problems, saying that Ellington was losing pounds 1m every month.

The decision by the miners, who will receive enhanced redundancy payments of up to pounds 47,000, follows proposals by British Coal last week to close five collieries. Besides Ellington, Ollerton and Annesley, they include Manton near Worksop, where there was no opposition to closure, and Goldthorpe in Yorkshire, which has already closed.

Since October 1992, 25,000 mineworkers have left the industry, leaving fewer than 15,000. Another 3,000 British Coal staff have also lost their jobs. The company blames falling sales of coal to National Power and PowerGen, a decline caused by increased use of nuclear power and gas in electricity generation.

Ministers hope legislation privatising British Coal will go through Parliament by the middle of the year.