Arthur Scargill wins £13,000 union damages

 

Former miners' leader Arthur Scargill has been awarded £13,000 in damages after he sued a trust fund of the union he led for 20 years.

Mr Scargill, 74, sued the National Union of Mineworkers Yorkshire Area Trust Fund (YATF) over a range of expenses he claimed he was owed when he worked for them in a £26,000-a-year role after he retired as NUM national president.

Today, a judge at Sheffield County Court rejected the former union boss's claim that he should have had his telephone costs reimbursed by the trust.

But Judge Robert Moore ruled that Mr Scargill was entitled to a car allowance substantially more than the £50 the trustees eventually offered him.

He awarded him £12,000 in damages. The judge also awarded Mr Scargill a further £1,000 in damages because he was denied membership of the NUM for 10 months during the dispute.

Judge Moore told the court that when the trustees began to question Mr Scargill's contract, "there was a clear agenda both to disown him and to pay him as little as possible".

Mr Scargill's barrister Timothy Pitt-Payne QC said the trust treated his client "in a thoroughly shabby way and in a way that was quite inappropriate, given his long and distinguished career within the union".

The court heard that Mr Scargill took up a role with the trust after he retired from his £70,000 post as national president of the NUM in 2002.

Despite two trustees of the fund claiming they did not realise he worked for them, Judge Moore said in his judgment that Mr Scargill's work over the last decade was "meaningful and considerable".

The judge outlined how the former president's expertise was used in relation to the preparation of a range of legal cases.

He said these included an aborted attempt to reclaim £8 million from the union's former solicitors, a long-running property dispute relating to union offices in central Sheffield, and former miners' compensation claims regarding the condition vibration white finger.

The trustees disputed Mr Scargill's claim that he was entitled to an allowance towards a new car.

The court heard that he understood this was a benefit which carried over after he changed jobs in 2002 and was calculated using a complex formula but amounted to 80% of the cost of a Ford Mondeo over a four-year period.

This amounted to about £14,500.

The judge was told that Mr Scargill was paid this allowance in 2005 when he last changed his car.

But five years later, when he inquired again, the trustees began to question the very basis of his employment contract with YATF.

Mr Scargill, wearing a dark suit with a red tie, sat behind his QC in court.

The case continues this afternoon when the judge will resume his assessment of costs.

Speaking outside court, Mr Scargill said: "I'm very pleased that justice has been done.

"I've demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that the action taken against me to declare my contract was not valid, my membership of the NUM was not valid and my allowances were not valid has been dispensed with by the court."

He said: "I'm very pleased with the result.

"I feel it's a sad day that the leadership of the NUM in the Yorkshire area have taken what can only be described as a vindictive action against me after 58 years membership of this union."

Mr Scargill said: "This was about principle, fundamental and at the heart of trade unionism."

He said the contract he was given when he became national president included provisions for what would happened when he retired from the post.

He said: "Every single president, every single national secretary of the NUM prior to me has always had those rights.

"It seems that they, the present leadership of the union, want to be vindictive and make me the only culprit."

Asked whether "bad blood" between him and the current national secretary of the NUM, Chris Kitchen, was behind the legal action, Mr Scargill said: "I think it's at the heart of this."

He added: "All I was doing was trying to enforce a contract of employment freely signed in 2002 and for some unknown reason declared by the trustees invalid in 2010."

He said: "Those people who instituted these proceedings by declaring I was not entitled to my contract have a lot to answer for and they've got to answer to the membership of the union.

"They will cost the union money. Not me."

Earlier, Judge Moore awarded Mr Scargill costs but the full amount was not disclosed to the court.

He heard how the YATF had assets of £11.7 million at the end of 2009.

Outside court, Mr Kitchen said the action had so far cost the fund around £50,000.

But, he said, the union was determined to continue with further action against its former national president later this year.

Mr Kitchen said: "I think the judge has believed every word Arthur has told him."

He said: "I honestly do believe that Arthur, in his own world, believes that the NUM is here to afford him the lifestyle that he's become accustomed to.

"Personally, I don't think that's the reason for the existence of the NUM."

He said: "Mr Scargill ought to look at what people think about him and talk to people as opposed to just believing what people around him keep telling him. That's maybe been his problem in the past."

Mr Kitchen said the trustees would now consider whether to appeal. But he said: "Arthur enjoys the limelight and why should the NUM continue to spend money to give him that?"

He said all the parties were due in the High Court in October regarding a dispute over rent payments on Mr Scargill's flat in the Barbican, in London.

Later, the judge ordered that Mr Scargill be awarded a further £480 in interest on the damages relating to the car allowance. This took Mr Scargill's total award to £13,480 plus undisclosed costs.

PA

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice