Pneumoconiosis-The Myth of the Service Requirement.

We have recently been contacted by a couple of former members who wanted to know if they could claim benefit for pneumo even though they did not have ten years’ service in the mining industry. Further enquiries reveal that there may be many others who believe it is necessary to have ten years’ service to make a claim, this is incorrect. In fact there is no requirement to demonstrate any minimum length of service. Pneumoconiosis, which includes silicosis and asbestosis is a Prescribed Disease known as PD D1 and anyone suffering from this disease who has worked at a coal-mine, underground or on the surface, is entitled to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit from DWP regardless of the length of their service. If you worked at the pit and you have been told you have this disease you should make a claim either online or through the local office of Job Centre Plus.

Dupuytren’s Contracture

Statutory Instrument 2019 No. 1241 was laid before Parliament in September 2019 and will come into force 9 December 2019 when A15 Dupuytren’s contracture is added to the list of Prescribed Industrial Injuries.

The prescription below is what you would need to be able to comply with in order to put in a claim through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

BEIS Select Committee update on the MPS.

Rachel Reeves MP Chair of the BEIS Select Committee following receiving a request from the NUM has written to both Chris Cheetham Chairman of the Mineworkers Pension Scheme Trustees and the RT HON Kwasi Kwarteng MP Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. Below are the replies she has received. Obviously these while not the replies we would have hoped for they are inline with what we would expect which is why the NUM continues to push for the BEIS Select Committee to conduct an investigation into the Government guarantee and the 50/50 surplus sharing arrangement. An equal split is not always a fair split.

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.


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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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……

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