Crisis in the mines: UDM leader stages sit-in at mine

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The Independent Online
ROY LYNK, leader of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, has begun an underground sit-in at a pit which is due to close today.

He said he would stay underground at Silverhill Colliery, near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, until the Government halts pit closures pending a parliamentary inquiry.

Mr Lynk, the president of the UDM, once worked at Silverhill, which is scheduled to close with the loss of 747 jobs. He turned up there yesterday afternoon asking if he could pay a final nostalgic visit underground.

On his way to the coal face more than 1,000 feet underground he revealed his plan to protest at British Coal's plan to close 31 pits, including eight in Nottinghamshire.

Last night, Mr Lynk said: 'I will stay down here as long as I can until somebody takes some notice of what the coal industry requires. I believe we have got the public sympathy this time.

'The men here think that I have let them down and I've got to live with them and if they must suffer, so will I . . . We are being blackmailed into taking redundancy. Someone has got to get the Government to have an inquiry.'

Mr Lynk has warm clothing and a supply of sandwiches and drinks. He will be accompanied by a UDM representative in order to meet safety regulations.

Bert Sage, the UDM branch secretary at Silverhill pit, said: 'He is angry that private firms are being employed by British Coal while our men are being made redundant and he wants to stop collieries being closed pending a full parliamentary inquiry.

'The reason he picked Silverhill is because he used to work here and it is going to close today,' he said.

Although the pit will cease production today, it will remain open for safety work to be carried out next week. Miners will be interviewed by jobs advisers next Thursday and Friday although there are few vacancies in the area.

(Photograph omitted)