Heseltine to meet UDM men angry at 'betrayal'

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The Independent Online
Michael Heseltine will be given a 'roasting' today in his first face-to- face meeting with leaders of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers since the pit closures were announced.

The executive of the UDM, whose members plan a 'work-in' today at Silverhill colliery which faces closure on Friday, will tell the President of the Board of Trade that they feel betrayed by the announcement of the closure of pits in Nottinghamshire and one in Derbyshire where miners worked through the 1984-85 strike. Senior UDM members said they intended to speak bluntly to Mr Heseltine.

It is likely that the UDM delegation will be without Roy Lynk, the union's general secretary, who last night was maintaining his protest 1,000ft below the surface at Silverhill.

The meeting between members of the UDM executive and Mr Heseltine will start a week of pressure on both the Government and British Coal over the intended closure of 31 pits by next March and the loss of more than 30,000 jobs. The climax of the week will be a demonstration in central London on Sunday which unions hope will be attended by at least 100,000 people.

Today the Coalfield Communities Campaign, backed by local authorities, is to seek a judicial review of the failure of the Office of Electricity Regulation to ensure the cheapest supply of electricity. Power generators are being accused of a costly 'dash for gas'.

In a case adjourned from last Friday, a High Court judge is expected to decide tomorrow whether to grant a temporary injunction stopping the closures. The National Union of Mineworkers and Nacods, the colliery supervisors' union, are alleging that management infringed European and English employment legislation. On Wednesday, the TUC is backing a lobby of Parliament when Tory MPs have threatened to vote for a Labour motion attacking British Coal's strategy. Thousands of miners, rail workers and other trade unionists are expected to march to the House of Commons.

Two separate rallies will be held in central London, one in Westminster and one in Hyde Park, because of the huge number of demonstrators expected to descend on the capital.

A day later, the High Court is due to hear a UDM case calling for a judicial review of the British Coal decision.

The Health and Safety Commission will tomorrow consider a draft law that could remove critical industrial power from Nacods.

At the moment, no pit can operate without the presence of a deputy, who is responsible for supervising and inspecting the mine, but the commission will consider a proposal to delete a reference to pit 'deputy' in health and safety legislation and insert 'appointed person' instead.

Nuclear workers are ready to end their long-running disagreement with miners to put their weight behind the campaign to stop the massive rundown of the coal industry. Leaders of six unions representing 10,000 workers in the 11 plants run by British Nuclear Fuels and the Atomic Energy Authority are expected to announce tomorrow that they are backing the miners and the growing call to keep collieries open.