UDM told ministers how to cut miners' power

THE Union of Democratic Mineworkers advised ministers on how to minimise the impact of strikes in a privatised coal industry, make miners work longer hours underground and weaken the pit supervisors' union.

A memorandum from the UDM to Timothy Eggar, Minister for Energy, also acknowledges the need for redundancies. The paper argues that the business should be divided in two, rendering industrial action less effective.

The memorandum was sent as part of a bid for privatised collieries by a consortium in which the non-TUC union is involved. It urged that the 'stranglehold' on mining by Nacods, the pit deputies' union, could be broken if other personnel had responsibility for safety.

The paper prepares the way for new employment contracts enforcing longer shifts and says that privatisation should be organised in such a way that miners have no redress over the new working conditions through industrial tribunals.

Peter McNestry, general secretary of Nacods, said the submission showed some senior UDM officials had lost their way as representatives of miners. He believes the letter reveals a degree of collaboration with the aims of the Government which many UDM members will find unpalatable.

Signed by Roy Lynk, former UDM president, the submission says: 'The UDM is fully aware that the role it has taken on, involving as it does radical changes for its members and possible redundancies, is self-contradictory in traditional industrial relations terms.' However, the union, whose members crossed picket lines in the 1984-85 coal strike, had already 'broken out of UK traditional trade union confines'.

The contents of the paper account for the sense of betrayal felt by Mr Lynk when the Government announced the closure of 31 pits in October. Mr Lynk staged a sit-in at a Nottinghamshire mine and handed back his OBE. He was subsequently defeated in presidential elections, partly because other UDM officials objected to the advice over privatisation being given to the Government. Mr Lynk lost to Neil Greatrex, who espouses more traditional union values.

The defeat of Mr Lynk puts a question mark over the union's enthusiasm for involvement with the British Association of Colliery Management and East Midlands Electricity in a consortium to bid for the industry. Mr Greatrex said the bid would go ahead as long as it was supported by UDM members.

Mr Lynk's submission advises creating a north-south divide in the industry, with the UDM taking the southern half including Nottinghamshire.

That area would be large enough and flexible enough to be competitive, but small enough to allow the application of 'made-to-measure' efficiency improvements. It adds: 'It also avoids any possible disruptive activity affecting the whole of the coal industry.'

It goes on: 'No matter what form privatisation takes, the role of Nacods (the pit deputies' union) needs to be examined.' No coal face can operate without prior inspection by deputies, the overwhelming majority of whom belong to the union. The memo says the duties of Nacods members were significantly increased in 1966 when a new system of pay was introduced. The industry should move away from such a system.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk