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1975: Miners set for 35 per cent pay rises
British mineworkers' leaders have agreed to accept the coal board's latest pay offer of up to 35%.

A settlement was reached when the coal board added an extra pound to wage rates after two-and-a-half days' intensive negotiations at the industry's London headquarters.

The deal, brokered by National Coal Board chair Sir Derek Ezra, is worth 140m and means increases of up to 35% for the UK's 246,000 miners.

Much more could have been obtained
Arthur Scargill
NUM executives voted 16 to 10 to recommend the award which gives new basic weekly rates of 61- up from 45 - at the coalface, 47 - up from 36 - elsewhere - and 41 - up from 30 - on the surface.

Other improvements include extending unsocial hours by an extra two hours, increasing the hourly rate from 1p to 20p and setting national - rather than individual - weekly production bonuses of 3 for output over 100,000 tonnes of target.

The union will send out ballot papers to members next week and hope to implement the changes on 1 March.

Overall the offer falls just short of figures demanded by the NUM's left-wing at last year's conference.

Leading left-winger and President of the Yorkshire branch of the NUM Arthur Scargill said: The social contract has been breached and to that extent I welcome the advances which have been made."

"But I think much more could have been obtained with a more determined and militant approach," he continued.

NUM President Joseph Gormley said the latest pay deal remained in the spirit of the social contract.

Moderate trade unionists and the government were keen to preserve the social contract and avoid further industrial action.

The social contract was brokered by Harold Wilson's Labour Government to settle the miners' strike after the general election last February and had promised food subsidies and price restraints to the unions in return for pay restraint and co-operation.

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Photo of Scottish miners' leader Mike McGahey
Scottish miners' leader Mike McGahey is against the social contract for industry

In Context
The deal was accepted by miners - militant and moderate - across the country and strikes were avoided.

From 1 March the price of domestic coal rose by 22% and the price of coal for industrial use rose by over 7%, to generate an extra 370m in revenue to pay for the wage increases.

Coal output also increased to meet the higher production targets set by the NCB.

Targets rose to 150 million tonnes over the decade from the 115 million tonnes achieved in 1975.

Joseph Gormley presided over a period of relative harmony in the coal industry for the rest of the 1970s and achieved the relatively peaceful closure of 40 pits in that period.

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