Three pits stop production

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The Independent Online
COAL production at three pits stopped yesterday as miners prepared for tomorrow's TUC protest demonstration in London, writes Martin Whitfield.

The last coal-cutting shift took place at Vane Tempest, near Sunderland, Parkside in the Midlands, and Taff Merthyr in South Wales. The three employ nearly 2,000 miners. Although the pits were effectively closed yesterday they will undergo care and maintenance until the end of a three-month consultation process.

British Coal said severance payments would be calculated on average wages for the 12 weeks before last week's closure announcement and not before the official shut-down.

Miners in South Wales had threatened court action as they believed they could lose up to pounds 8,000 in redundancy pay if production bonuses were excluded.

Tomorrow's protest will assemble at 11.30am at Embankment underground station before marching to Hyde Park for a rally at 2pm.