Miners agree closure of last pit in South Wales: Tower colliery men accept redundancy

BRITISH COAL'S last deep mine in South Wales ceased production yesterday after miners voted to accept redundancy payments four days after agreeing an offer to keep the pit open.

Miners at Tower colliery, near Aberdare, would have lost pounds 19,000 a head by maintaining production until privatisation at the end of the year with no guarantee of a buyer.

About 250 members of the National Union of Mineworkers voted at a mass meeting to reverse last Friday's decision to work on following pressure from management, miners who wanted to accept the package, and four other unions which had already opted for closure. NUM members calculated that a weekly pay packet until the end of the year would not match the enhanced redundancy payments on offer.

The colliery will now be kept on a 'care and maintenance' basis in case a private company decides to bid for it. Tower made pounds 28m profit in the last three years, but BC wants to close it following a fall in demand for power station coal.

Miners took the decision despite a personal plea by Arthur Scargill, president of the National Union of Mineworkers, who visited Tower on Monday. Mr Scargill condemned the corporation for conducting a 'dirty tricks' campaign.

Yesterday British Coal confirmed that a 'non-negotiable' national offer would be presented to miners' leaders which would maintain the maximum basic redundancy payment of pounds 27,000. The extra pounds 19,000 on offer to Tower men would not be available after this month.

Colliers would have to agree flexible working practices in order to qualify for the new package, corporation sources said. A lump sum of pounds 6,000 would be paid to miners on acceptance of the new deal.

Although yesterday's decision by the Tower men came as a surprise, BC sources pointed out that some 70 miners had earlier expressed an interest in taking the enhanced redundancy payments.

Tower miners voted on Friday to accept a British Coal offer to keep the pit open, but the NUM subsequently contacted management informing them that they were reconsidering the decision.

All other unions at the pit, Nacods, the pit-deputies, Cosa, the white-collar NUM branch, BACM the managers' union and GMB Apex for administrative staff, had already reached agreement with the corporation on taking redundancy.

Ann Clwyd, a Labour employment spokeswoman and MP for Cynon Valley, yesterday clashed with the Speaker, Betty Boothroyd, in the Commons after claiming that David Hunt, the Secretary of State for Employment, and British Coal were 'peddling untruths'.

Similar unparliamentary language got the Prime Minister into trouble recently. Mrs Clwyd was told three times to withdraw accusations that Mr Hunt and British Coal were 'lying through their teeth'.

Mrs Clwyd staged a 27-hour sit-in at the pit last week, emerging from underground when British Coal agreed to postpone its closure.

She said the Government's pit closure programme had forced thousands of men on to the economic scrapheap.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Latest stories from i100
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

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Tutor required for Level 3 Workskills

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Eduction are...

Primary Supply Teacher - Loughborough

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...

Primary General Cover Teachers

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week