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Monday, 13 August, 2001, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Miners march to keep colliery open
Hatfied colliery
150 miners are expected to take part in the march
Miners made redundant at a colliery are marching on the pit for their "right to work".

The Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster, south Yorkshire, closed on 9 August with the loss of 223 jobs.

Hatfield Coal Company Limited said it could not secure the funding to continue trading, despite having agreed terms for long-term supply to the Drax power station.

The workers want to keep the mine shafts open to exploit a new seam which could provide coal for 20 years.

These men are still owed wages and holiday pay

Dave Douglas, NUM
The miners were called out of the pit less than two hours into their morning shift last Thursday and told their jobs had gone.

Dave Douglas, the company's National Union of Mineworkers representative, said he is meeting with solicitors in an attempt to keep the pit open.

"We'll try to enforce the 90 days consultation period required by law, during which time the fabric of the mine cannot be damaged.

"We'd like the workers to buy it and run it as a co-operative, like the miners at the Tower pit in south Wales," said Mr Douglas.

"But these men are still owed wages and holiday pay."

Local councillors have agreed to join the campaign and meetings are planned with local MPs and the Energy Minister, Brian Wilson.

No alternative

The directors of the Hatfield colliery said they decided they had no alternative but to place the company into liquidation after advice from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Coal Authority.

A spokesman said they had lost the backing of a major funder.

"Unfortunately, negotiations broke down last week.

"It became clear that the finance required would not be available within a timescale which would enable the colliery to continue trading."

Eddie Dixon, one of the directors, told BBC News Online that management were unable to address the miners' demonstration as the company has not yet completed the process of going into receivership.

"We're always prepared to meet with a group of our workers but at this juncture in the legal process it would not be appropriate to address the men."

See also:

10 Jul 00 | Wales
Gas prospectors target colliery
17 Apr 00 | Business
Coal industry's stay of execution
18 Apr 00 | Wales
Job hopes pinned on gas station
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