Fears Kellingley Colliery could close by June

Keith Poulson and Keith Hartshorne
Keith Poulson and Keith Hartshorne

Workers at Kellingley Colliery - due to close at the end of the year - now fear the site could shut as early as June .

Last month the government rejected a £338m state aid bid to extend the pit’s life until 2018 and now workers fear the site could close within two months.

Keith Hartshorne, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) delegate at Kellingley, said “The miners are getting very twitchy because the coal face we’re currently working on will be complete by the end of June.

“We are beating production targets on this current face and the next one isn’t going to be ready until the second week in July.

“If we carry on as we have been doing that would leave a two-week gap and there are serious concerns they could just shut the pit at the end of June.”

In a written statement to parliament last month, business secretary Matthew Hancock said the state aid funding bid to keep Kellingley and Hatfield collieries open for another three years was “not affordable and does not represent value for money for the taxpayer.”

The announcement means the UK Coal-run pit will close by the end of 2015 - with the loss of 700 jobs - as part of a £4m ‘managed closure’ plan already agreed last year.

Mr Hartshorne added: “We should have had 205 redundancies announced last weekend but they’ve said those workers are just going to carry on - they’re not going to put anybody on notice.

“That in itself is worrying because we don’t really know why they’ve done that.

“Given how everything has unfolded up to now and how we’ve been treated there are some really strong fears about the future.

“We could effectively end up working ourselves out of a job and being the victims of our own success.”

No-one from UK Coal was available for comment when contacted by the Express.