The NUM formally write to request a Select Committee hearing into MPS Guarantee.

The NUM has been working with a group of supportive Labour Party MP’s in preparation to request a Select Committee hearing into the Mineworkers Pension Scheme (MPS) Government guarantee and the 50/50 surplus sharing arrangement. The NUM has held back from submitting a formal request as we were aware from comments made by the Minister in a recent parliamentary backbench debate (arranged by Grahame Morris MP) on the MPS that proposals had been put to him by the MPS Trustees. Proposals which he was referring to the Treasury with his support. As the NUM were not aware what these proposals were but had been told that the MPS Trustee Chairman (MR C Cheetham) would be shortly writing to members to explain.

Well the Chairman of the MPS Trustees has now written to all MPS members and it appears as if nothing has so far been agreed with the Government. Given what can be gleaned from the letter as to what proposals have been put forward if agreed it will have no meaningful effect on pensions until at least 2023. For this reason the NUM have now formally written to Rachel Reeves MP Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee requesting that her committee hold a hearing into the MPS to determine whether retired miners and their widows and dependants are receiving a fair share.

READ NUM LETTER HERE

MPS negotiations with Government update.

There has been an agreement between the MPS Trustees and the Government. As the Trustees want the Scheme members to know the details of the arrangement before it is made public, as not all Scheme members will have access to the internet it has been decided that a letter will be sent out next week. There will be a brief statement put on the MPS website which will be extended on once members have received their letters.

A National Permanent Memorial for Miners.

At the second time of asking permission has been granted for a National Permanent memorial to commemorate the men, women and children who worked in the mining industry in the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire. Thank you to everyone who has helped to made this a reality.

MP’s write to the Minister for Business & Industry over the MPS.

A cross party group of MP’s have written to the Minister following up on comments that he made in the backbench debate organised by Grahame Morris MP (Easington) in respect of proposals put to him by the MPS Trustees. Whilst we will have to wait and see what the proposals are if adopted and what benefits they will bring to MPS pensions the NUM remains committed to a review of the surplus sharing arrangements. We thank the MP’s who spoke in the debate and have signed the letter to the Minister for their support and reiterate that an equal share is not a fair share of the surpluses of a pension scheme that the Government have not contributed to.

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NUM WIN IN COURT

The case was heard over five days in March in the High Court in Manchester before His Honour Judge Eyre QC. The NUM was represented by the Union’s solicitors Mssrs. Clarke Willmott and the IEMO was represented by Arthur Scargill, former President of the NUM.

This was the resolution of a longstanding dispute arising out of a bridging loan made by the NUM to its former CEO Roger Windsor in 1984. Acting on behalf of the NUM, IEMO commenced proceedings against Mr. Windsor in France and eventually succeeded in obtaining a judgement against him and recovered a sum of money in 2012. Throughout much of this period the proceedings were conducted by Mr Scargill who was a full time employee of the NUM and later the NUM Yorkshire and Lancashire Area Trust Funds. However IEMO failed to repay to the NUM the money that the Union had expended on the case, insisting that it was under no obligation to do so.

The High Court disagreed and has now ordered IEMO to pay to the NUM the sum of £161,299.29 by 19 July 2019. The Union is also seeking to recover further sums in respect of legal costs and will also continue to receive additional future payments from Mr. Windsor.

Chris Kitchen

Responding to the Decision of the Court, Chris Kitchen, NUM Secretary made the following statement;-

“This has been a long and protracted dispute which I inherited when I was first elected in 2007. It is regrettable that our efforts to resolve the issues amicably were rejected by IEMO and that it was necessary to take this action in the High Court. This was very difficult litigation in circumstances where for long periods the NUM has been under attack from some former members who are determined to undermine the integrity of the organisation and its officials and employees. However the action was justified and I note that the Court accepted the testimony of the Union’s witnesses and rejected that of the IEMO, particularly Mr Scargill, whose evidence was found to be unreliable in many respects. On behalf of NUM members and former members I am delighted with the outcome of this case which will enable the Union to continue working to protect their interests in future.”

Those who wish to read the full judgement in the case may do so by following this link……

Previous article.

LEST WE FORGET

Armistice Day is 11 November. We pause to observe the Two Minute Silence at 11.00am on this day every year because at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I ended and 2018 marks 100 years.
During this time, we remember those who have made sacrifices for the freedom we enjoy today.

Miners and the First World War

At home and abroad, the coal miners of Great Britain made an enormous contribution to the war effort during the years 1914 to 1918. Great waves of young pitmen rushed to enlist, 191,170 of them responding to Kitchener’s call to arms within seven months of the start of hostilities, representing about one in five of all mining personnel (men, boys and women). By the summer of 1915 250,750 workers had left their collieries for military service. Some mines were so seriously depleted of labour, for instance in Durham, that a two-shift system had to be introduced in order to keep production going, and within a few weeks, several of the larger Yorkshire collieries ‘lost’ more than half of their key workers. Those miners ‘left behind’ worked extra hard to produce the coal that the country demanded to keep the home fires burning and drive a huge military machine. Despite the government’s mine-recruitment campaign, there remained a serious shortfall of labour, making the achievements of the coal-getters, still largely by pick and shovel, even more significant. These were sadly forgotten achievements, as were the contributions of so many women and girls, on the pit tops and in the homes, surely the greatest unpaid workforce imaginable.

At home and abroad, the coal miners of Great Britain made an enormous contribution to the war effort during the years 1914 to 1918. Great waves of young pitmen rushed to enlist, 191,170 of them responding to Kitchener’s call to arms within seven months of the start of hostilities, representing about one in five of all mining personnel (men, boys and women). By the summer of 1915 250,750 workers had left their collieries for military service. Some mines were so seriously depleted of labour, for instance in Durham, that a two-shift system had to be introduced in order to keep production going, and within a few weeks, several of the larger Yorkshire collieries ‘lost’ more than half of their key workers. Those miners ‘left behind’ worked extra hard to produce the coal that the country demanded to keep the home fires burning and drive a huge military machine. Despite the government’s mine-recruitment campaign, there remained a serious shortfall of labour, making the achievements of the coal-getters, still largely by pick and shovel, even more significant. These were sadly forgotten achievements, as were the contributions of so many women and girls, on the pit tops and in the homes, surely the greatest unpaid workforce imaginable.

Although patriotism played its part in recruitment, for many miners joining the Colours had other advantages, including regular pay and regular meals; and of course, escape from what was a hellish and highly dangerous occupation. In 1913, 1,753 miners were killed at work and a staggering 178,000 were injured. Apart from in the communities in which these men worked, there was little or no public awareness of the day to day fatalities; but when 439 men and boys – and a rescue worker – died in the Universal Colliery disaster at Senghenydd in the same year, the world’s presses jumped into action, and Parliament once again woke up to discuss safety in mines, safety that was so disgracefully ignored by the owners at Senghenydd, whose ‘punishment’ was scandalously minimal. Yet in South Wales, where the miners were perceived by much of the press as a ‘militant’ and ‘disruptive’ force – they were passionate enough to fight for their rights and over 40,000 of them enlisted.

Still largely lost in the background and unaccounted for was the silent but slow and relentless toll caused by industrial disease. It is not surprising, therefore, that so many pit lads and their mates downed their shovels and picks to ‘see the world’, so sadly unaware of what lay ahead.

For some young miners the initial call to arms was an invitation to ‘see the world’, for what was generally perceived as a short interlude, a few months away from their families and communities.

Although miners served in all the theatres of war it was in France and Flanders, on the Western Front, where they were most obvious. As a fit and skilled workforce, used to dealing with adversity and so co-operative when under extreme pressure, they became a ‘most wanted’ workforce in military contexts. In Pioneer corps, for example, they had vital roles in creating and maintaining hundreds of miles of trenches. It has only been relatively recently, thanks to Sebastian Faulks’s novel Birdsong and the work of military historians such as Peter Barton, that the role of miners as tunnellers in the secret but often spectacular ‘underground war’ against their Germans opponents – for which there was considerably empathy – has become widely known. Specially recruited for (or attached to) the Royal Engineers, these men showed exceptional bravery throughout the conflict, one veteran miner-tunneller, William Hacket, awarded the Victoria Cross, sadly posthumously, for his extreme and unselfish gallantry at Givenchy. On the pages of newspapers in any coalfield area are countless stories of former miners who were lost or killed in action, and/or given military honours. Almost 50 VCs were awarded to former miners during the War, an extraordinary statistic that we should be aware. The physical stature of some miners did not go unnoticed, when they were recruited to serve on the Bantam regiments; and they were also prominent in other, somewhat forgotten areas, such as part of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), as stretcher bearers and first-aiders, a role that they had experience and training in the mines. And of course, ‘mine rescue’ became an integral part of the tunnelling war referred to above.

Most of the c.120,000 former miners who survived the war and were in a reasonably fit state of health on discharge returned to the pit where they were previously employed or at least tried to. Unemployment, poverty and disputes ravaged coalfield communities yet again during the early 1920s, paradoxically at a time when war memorials and rolls of honour were being unveiled.

It is only really through individual family stories that miners’ contributions can be properly appreciated. We should never forget the role and bravery of miners in the Great War, irrespective of nationality.

Additional

By January 1917, after conscription had been introduced, and when mineworkers were supposedly classed as a ‘reserved’ occupation, recruitment continued, increasing the total to 282,200. This was due to the great demand for skilled miners for use in tunnelling and other specialist areas of the military services, and despite the great need for increasing coal output for the war effort. And by the end of the war it is estimated that the aggregate number of miners who served in the Great War was about half a million, an astonishing statistic.

With thanks to Brian Elliott https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Brian-Elliott/a/184

Policing during miners’ strike: independent review SCOTLAND

PUBLIC MEETINGS


The call for evidence is open until 30 November 2018. NUM National President, Nicky Wilson has urged all those who can assist with this important review to do what they can to help.

• Cumnock Town Hall (62 Glaisnock Street, Cumnock, KA18 1BY) on Tuesday 13th November
• Lochgelly Centre (Bank Street, Lochgelly, KY5 9RD) on Tuesday 20th November
• National Mining Museum (Lady Victoria Colliery, Newtongrange, Dalkeith, EH22 4QN) on Wednesday 21st November
• Fauldhouse Miners’ Welfare Society (5-7 Bridge St, Fauldhouse, Bathgate EH47 9AY) on Tuesday 27th November
• Oakley Miners’ Welfare Club (Blairwood Terrace, Oakley, Dunfermline KY12 9QG) on Wednesday 28th November
• Fallin Miners’ Welfare Society and Social Club (Main St, Fallin, Stirling FK7 7HY) on Wednesday 5th December
• Auchengeich Miners’ Club (3 Auchengeich Rd, Moodiesburn, Glasgow G69 0JN) on Thursday 6th December

For further information see link https://www.gov.scot/groups/independent-review-policing-miners-strike/#Minersstrikereview

At Last Government Accept IIAC Recommendation

With the acceptance of the IIAC recommendation the next steps will be the prescription so what is the likely qualification?

According to the IIAC document click here

• You have worked for ten or more years in aggregate which involves use of hand-held powered tools whose internal parts vibrate so as to transmit vibration to the hand for at least two hours per day on three or more days per week.

• The disease should be at the stage that involves fixed flexion deformity (contracture) of one or more of the digits (fingers).

Chris Kitchen

The NUM have raised this issue many times and the Durham Miners have been at the forefront of the campaign to have this recommendation accepted. NUM Secretary Chris Kitchen said that he hoped that the government would ensure that all the paperwork is completed as soon as possible to enable claims for Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit to be made. Chris went on to say that this is another example of the good work done by the NUM and the NUM Area’s and despite the last pit closing in Durham in the 1990’s the work done yet again demonstrates the relevance of the union in 2018.

Previous article http://num.org.uk/news/page/2/


General Information*
Contracture
In simple terms, ‘contracture’ is ‘bending of the finger’.
Many people who have nodules or cords may never develop a contracture, but some will.
In those patients after some time, usually months or years the cords may start to cause a contracture.
After a while (normally months to years) the affected finger(s) may not straighten completely anymore (it becomes impossible to lay the hand flat on a table), and in the worst affected cases the finger(s) start to bend into the palm of the hand
Diagnosis
How Dupuytren’s is diagnosed
Physical examination
In most cases an experienced doctor (GP or hand surgeon) does not need any extra tests to diagnose Dupuytren’s disease. The main things the doctor will do are:
• Ask a detailed history, when did you first notice this, did any injury happen that set it off, does anybody in your family have something similar.
• The doctor will look at your hands and examine them by palpation, feeling in your palm and fingers for any lumps or cords present.
• The doctor will ask about or check for problems elsewhere, mainly feet and shoulders and for men the penis.
• A table top test may be done to see if contracture is present, which mean you need to put your hand palm down on a table and see if the hand can lay flat.

 *Source:http://dupuytrens-society.org.uk/information/dupuytrens-disease/dupuytrens-diagnosis/

 

CISWO CLOSE DERBYSHIRE MINERS CONVALESCENT HOME IN SKEGNESS

Former miners and their families together with retired workers from the home staged a last show of defiance outside the home in Skegness. For years the home has provided respite for many thousands have enjoyed the fresh sea air from the prime location on the sea front.
For some reason CISWO gave instructions that the gates be locked and employed security to enforce this order. Despite this it did not prevent some of those at the home for the last time speaking to the people who turned out to express their disappointment.
There is a real sense of loss with the closure of this home in a prime location and questions are being asked as to what has been done to keep the home open. CISWO is a registered charity and people asked what grants had been applied for to keep the home open and had other business plans been considered. To some CISWO appear to be simply cashing assets rather than maintaining those assets that were given to them with the winner being CISWO and the loser being the mining communities.

Former Derbyshire Miner Geoff Poulter has to speak from behind locked gates to those who came out to listen. 
Nottingham NUM NEC Member Alan Spencer speaking to the media.
Yorkshire Miners wrestle with the wind and show their support.
Many thanks to Skegness and Louth Labour Party for showing their support.