Deal to save Kellingley Colliery still not confirmed

Talks between pit bosses and investors are continuing in a bid to secure a ‘managed closure’ of Kellingley Colliery over the next 18 months.

Tuesday, 29th April 2014, 1:47 pm
Workers at Kellingley Colliery are holding a meeting with Yvette Cooper after UK Coal announced the pit will close unless the government step in to help.

Almost 80 per cent of miners voted in favour of pit operator UK Coal’s proposal - backed by £20m of investment from the government and private sector - to close Kellingley by December 2015.

But UK Coal said the deal has not yet been fully agreed.

Andrew Mackintosh, UK Coal’s director of communications, said: “We are still talking to all of the investors and these talks are moving forward.

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“Everything is progressing to plan and hopefully it can all be agreed within the next week or two - it has to be.”

In total, 79.9 per cent of staff voted in favour of the plan last week.

Of 719 ballot papers sent out by UK Coal, 658 were returned. 575 voted yes, 81 voted no and two papers were spoilt.

Workers at the site and unions say they are still fighting for a long-term future for the colliery.

Chris Kitchen, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary, said: “It all seems to have gone very quiet which can be seen as either good or bad.

“I think the men were backed into a corner having to vote on either losing their job or in 18 months but we’ve always said we will fight for a long-term future for Kellingley and that’s what we will continue to do.”

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper said UK Coal and the government should be doing more to secure a future for the pit.

She said: “It’s simply not good enough for Ministers to shrug their shoulders and declare “job done” on Kellingley.

“Time is running out, if we don’t secure a long term deal before the new development stops and men are laid off at the end of May, it will be too late.”