Yvette Cooper MP

Working hard for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford & Knottingley

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Letter to Secretaries of State calling for a better deal for Kellingley Workers

Following last week's debate on Kellingley, today Yvette has sent a letter to the Secretaries of State for Energy and Climate Change and BIS, asking them to intervene and offer a better deal to the last workers at Kellingley Colliery. The letter is co-signed by many other coalfield MPs. You can read the full text below:

 


The Secretary of State
Department for Energy and Climate Change
3, Whitehall Place
London, SW1A 2AW

The Secretary of State
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
1, Victoria Street
London, SW1H 0ET

Tuesday 15th December 2015


Dear Secretaries of State,

In just a few days’ time, Britain’s last working deep coal mine, Kellingley Colliery, will close after a two year campaign by workers, elected representatives and the local community to try to keep it open. The last 450 miners will lose their jobs before Christmas.

The hard work of Britain's miners has powered the British economy, kept the home fires burning and sustained our coalfield communities for generations and the Kellingley miners have stayed loyal to the coal industry until the very end - saving the Government tens of millions of pounds in doing so.

When UK Coal was at risk of imminent collapse the miners pulled out all the stops and increased production and were even willing to risk their own money in order to keep it open with a workforce buyout. When UK Coal nearly went bust they were ready to accept changes to their pensions and working arrangements to keep the pit open.

If the workforce hadn’t stayed with the industry, the Government would have lost the millions in tax that UK Coal owed, and would have been landed with the bill for closing Kellingley pit—so the Government is saving tens of millions of pounds. We also understand that the Government will be saving over £9m in future compared to the original estimate for concessionary fuel that was announced by the Chancellor.

Yet despite often decades of service keeping our lights on, powering our factories and fuelling the nation, the last British coal miners are being offered the worst deal of any of the hundreds of thousands of miners who have left the industry over many decades. We feel this is a total betrayal of these miners by UK Coal and the Government.

Miners who were made redundant under Margaret Thatcher and in almost all the pit closures since, have had enhanced redundancy pay as recognition of the long years they worked, the difficult and skilled job they have done, and the limited alternative skilled work available.

Yet the last miners who have been loyal until the end at Kellingley have had their redundancy cut back just to the minimum statutory redundancy pay.

UK Coal has finally said that they will receive severance pay in lieu of notice paid at average pay. However they have not been guaranteed the concessionary coal deal that the NUM had expected to help those miners just under 50 or those getting temporary work.

We are calling on the Government to work urgently with UK Coal to give a fair deal to the last British miners - including enhanced redundancy pay, full severance pay, an extension of concessionary fuel and a commitment to more skills and training support and regeneration in the coalfield communities.

The Kellingley miners have done their bit to save the Government money, and stayed loyal to the coal industry and their communities to the very end. The very least you can do now is show them the respect they and the coalfields deserve and give them a fair deal now.

Yours,

Yvette Cooper, Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley

 

 

J

Nigel Adamas, Member of Parliament for Selby and Ainsty
Jon Trickett, Member of Parliament for Hemsworth
Mary Creagh, Member of Parliament for Wakefield
Dennis Skinner, Member of Parliament for Bolsover
Caroline Flint MP, Member of Parliament for Don Valley
Ian Lavery, Member of Parliament for Wansbeck
Natascha Engel, Member of Parliament for North East Derbyshire
Rosie Winterton MP, Member of Parliament for Doncaster Central
Sir Kevin Barron, Member of Parliament for Rother Valley
Dan Jarvis, Member of Parliament for Barnsley Central
Toby Perkins, Member of Parliament for Chesterfield
Gerald Jones MP, Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney
Jo Cox for Batley and Spen, Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen
John Healey, Member of Parliament for Wentworth and Dearne
Roberta Blackman-Woods, Member of Parliament for City of Durham
Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon
Chris Rees for Neath, Member of Parliament for Neath
Kevan Jones, Member of Parliament for Durham North
Helen Jones, Member of Parliament for Warrington North
Emma Lewell-Buck, Member of Parliament for South Shields
Helen Goodman MP, Member of Parliament for Bishop Auckland
Angela Smith MP, Member of Parliament for Penistone and Stocksbridge
David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Blaydon
Sharon Hodgson, Member of Parliament for Washington and Sunderland West
Pat Glass MP, Member of Parliament for North West Durham
Nick Smith for Blaenau Gwent, Member of Parliament for Blaenau Gwent
Anna Turley MP, Member of Parliament for Redcar
Chris Bryant, Member of Parliament for Rhondda
John Mann MP, Member of Parliament for Bassetlaw
Gloria De Piero, Member of Parliament for Ashfield
Grahame Morris, Member of Parliament for Easington
David Hanson (politician), Member of Parliament for Delyn
Yvonne Fovargue, Member of Parliament for Makerfield
Marie Rimmer MP, Member of Parliament for St Helen’s South and Whiston
Michael Dugher, Member of Parliament for Barnsley East
Conor McGinn, Member of Parliament for St Helen’s North
Mary Glindon, Member of Parliament for North Tyneside
Nic Dakin, Member of Parliament for Scunthorpe
Andy McDonald - Putting Middlesbrough First, Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough.

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