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Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 11:26 GMT
Miners vote to strike
Colliery
The workers were balloted over industrial action
More than 1,000 miners have voted in favour of industrial action for the first time since the 1984 miners' strike.

Strikes by members of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) are due to begin at the end of the month.

The union believes that up to a third of the remaining mining jobs in Britain, amounting to 2,000 posts, are at risk.

Their employers, UK Coal, have admitted there may be pit closures.

Re-enactment last year of 1984-5 miners strike
The last miners' strike saw bitter confrontations

Harworth Colliery, on the Nottinghamshire Yorkshire border in particular, is under threat.

Bassetlaw Labour MP John Mann says he has been told the mine will close within 18 months.

The workforce has been given two weeks to produce an alternative proposal to try and keep the pit viable, Mr Mann said.

He said: "Do we want to be reliant in 20 years' time on Russian gas and China coal for our energy supplies in this country?"

Big losses

UK Coal's Stewart Oliver said the company has not yet made a final decision about Haworth, but added that if nothing is done, the pit would continue to lose money and would have to close.

Mr Oliver said UK Coal lost 26m last year and 12.5m in the first six months of this year.

The company says most British coal cannot compete with cheaper imports.

All members of the UDM, which is traditionally viewed as a moderate mining union, were balloted over strike action.

Since the last year-long national miners strike 18 years ago a quarter of a million jobs have disappeared in the industry and nearly 200 pits have closed.

If Harworth closes there will be as few as seven pits left.


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See also:

30 Oct 01 | England
10 Oct 01 | England
27 Sep 01 | England
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