Government in Crisis: Confusion reigns at 10 pits facing closure
Tuesday 20 October 1992
They are likely to have to wait for clarification in the High Court today about whether they have to work their 90-day reprieve period or will receive a cash payment in lieu of notice.
Most are still unsure exactly what will happen to their pits. Mr Heseltine said that no pits would shut until the statutory notice and consultation period was complete but managers believed it was unlikely any coal would be produced.
British Coal said no redundancy notices would be sent during the 90 days. 'While the corporation will approach the statutory consultations with an open mind, it does not want to raise false hope.
'Subject to those consultations, it is British Coal's present view that the 10 collieries have no realistic prospect of a viable future whatever the outcome of the wider review,' a statement said.
At Shirebrook colliery, Derbyshire, two faces need development work before Christmas, without which the mine cannot prove its viability. 'The lads have been phoning from underground to ask how long have we got,' an NUM official said. 'We can't tell them any more now than yesterday.'
Roy Lynk, president of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, who is maintaining his occupation 1,200 feet underground at Silverhill Colliery, Nottinghamshire, said Mr Heseltine's statement was a 'whitewash'. He said in a message to his union office: 'There is nothing in it for our members. British Coal still intends to close all the pits.'
He said he would return his OBE to the Queen as a protest at the closures, and would not be standing for re-election as UDM president next month.
Peter Hewes, deputy manager of Silverhill, also on the list of 10, said that he was seeking clarification on Silverhill's position. 'As things stand at the moment, nothing has changed. There will be no night shift and we will not be coaling in the morning,' he said.
Mr Hewes, who stands to lose his job, said management at the colliery had lost faith in the Government and Mr Heseltine. 'The argument he has been putting forward does not hold water. We do feel rather let down,' he said.
British Coal's former commercial director, Malcolm Edwards, said it was 'inevitable' that the Government would change course. He said: 'What the statement does not do is address the country's energy strategy or the problem of what is in the country's best long-term interests.'
Mr Edwards said: 'Some of these mines can work for a number of years, employ a lot of people and produce competitive and profitable coal. These mines need to be offered to the market, they should not be shut by government diktat.'
Union leaders said that the announcement would not alter plans for tomorrow's mass demonstration in London and lobby of Parliament.
The Coalfields Communities Campaign said the extra aid to the coalfields would add up to little.
Hedley Salt, chairman of the campaign group, which represents 90 local authorities, said Mr Heseltine had failed to recognise that the closure of three-fifths of the coal industry was unacceptable.
'Nothing short of suspension of the whole closure programme followed by a full and independent review of the costs and benefits to the nation is what is really needed,' he said.
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...