TWENTY YEARS after the Great Strike, miners at a West Yorkshire pit struck on Monday in a dispute about new working practices. About 350 workers at Kellingley colliery near Pontefract were on a 24-hour stoppage, and were due to strike again on Thursday this week.
Mine owners UK Coal want to increase Kellingley's operating hours to accommodate 240 miners from the Selby mines which will be shortly closed. Chris Kitchen, the NUM branch secretary, says, 'The strike is the last-ditch attempt to try and get the company to ditch their plans for what they call 'flexible working'. We did not want to go into this course of action.'
UK Coal wants to increase Kellingley's operating hours from 95 to 145 a week. The company said this would bring Kellingley in line with the working arrangements currently used by miners at Selby. But the National Union of Mineworkers says this would result in men working 12-hour shifts in 'hostile conditions' underground.