Coal not so dirty as you may think

Which fossil fuel could you place in your mouth without causing damage? That would be wood would it not? A lot of ‘wood’ there, what fossil fuel is warmer more efficient and you can still place in your mouth without ill effect? Coal of course, you knew that anyway, but value of coal to people is not just by burning it there are many uses that help sustain our existence on the planet you may have seen the ‘coal tree’ showing the many useful uses derived from coal. What you may not be aware of is that coal contains Rare Earth metals. Researchers have found a way to extract rare materials and metals from coal in an efficient, cheap and environmentally friendly way. Scientists from the University of Kentucky say the new method of producing high-grade rare earth elements will make manufacturing the essential components found in mobile phones, computers, and other technological applications much cleaner. Materials such as neodymium and yttrium, which are used to make chemicals and equipment in the renewable energy sector, represented more than 45% of the total concentrate recovered. With demand for these technologies at all time high, the researchers think the discovery could make a significant difference to the environmental aspects of the process and the related industries. You would think that anyone with an abundance of coal, or an island built on coal for example would take advantage?

Clement Attlee 3 Jan 1883 to 8 October 1967

8 October 2017  50 years since the passing of Clement Attlee.

Lead the Labour Party to the landslide election victory of 1945. As Prime Minister he oversaw the introduction of the NHS and the Welfare State. Impressive achievements by any rule of thumb. Attlee was born in 1883 into an affluent family, studied law at Oxford and became a barrister in 1906. Hardly the start that would lead Thatcher to say some years later that “The 1945 Labour manifesto was in fact a very left-wing document. That is clearer now than it was then.”

It is said that by doing voluntary work in London he saw the levels of social deprivation that lead him to read the works of John Ruskin and William Morris. He joined the Independent Labour Party in 1908.

There is much written about Clement Attlee but his response here to Churchill in 1945 makes it quite plain to see which side he was on.

Winston Churchill, election broadcast (4th June, 1945)

I must tell you that a socialist policy is abhorrent to British ideas on freedom. There is to be one State, to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives. This State, once in power, will prescribe for everyone: where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say, what views they are to hold, where their wives are to queue up for the State ration, and what education their children are to receive. A socialist state could not afford to suffer opposition no socialist system can be established without a political police. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo.

Clement Attlee, election broadcast (5th June, 1945)

The Prime Minister made much play last night with the rights of the individual and the dangers of people being ordered about by officials. I entirely agree that people should have the greatest freedom compatible with the freedom of others. There was a time when employers were free to work little children for sixteen hours a day. I remember when employers were free to employ sweated women workers on finishing trousers at a penny halfpenny a pair. There was a time when people were free to neglect sanitation so that thousands died of preventable diseases. For years every attempt to remedy these crying evils was blocked by the same plea of freedom for the individual. It was in fact freedom for the rich and slavery for the poor.

Scargill v National Union of Mineworkers

Arthur Scargill, the former President of the NUM has lost the latest round in his ongoing litigation against the union.

On 22 August 2017 Leeds County Court heard Mr Scargill’s claim for recovery of £5769.00 plus interest and costs which he had paid for a replacement security system at his home in Barnsley. The Judge agreed that the union has a duty to act in the members’ interests and decided that the NUM had acted reasonably when it requested a second quote from an independent contractor to ensure that this represented best value. Mr Scargill had refused to allow the union the opportunity of obtaining alternative quotations for the work and consequently he was not entitled to recover the money he had paid for the security system. During the proceedings Mr Scargill, who represented himself, failed to prove his case despite prolonged questioning of NUM Secretary, Chris Kitchen. After the hearing Mr Kitchen said “I am obviously pleased at the outcome of this case but at a time when the union is doing its best to represent current and former members it’s a pity that yet again we are having to devote time and resources dealing with Mr Scargill’s complaints which are of no benefit to anyone except himself”.

Mathewson v National Union of Mineworkers

Mr Mathewson having had all of 8 of his complaints against the NUM struck out by the Certification Officer was seeking to appeal the decisions to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The case was heard 11 August 2017. The EAT at the hearing refused to admit Mr Mathewson’s appeal. Mr Mathewson was in court with his wife but did not speak. He was represented in court by Arthur Scargill assisted by Nell Myers.

NUM Wins Protective Award for Kellingley Members

The Employment Tribunal has issued judgement in the case of National Union of Mineworkers v UK Coal Kellingley Limited (in liquidation) and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Union brought this claim on behalf of all members at Kellingley colliery who were made redundant when the pit closed in 2015. The Tribunal has decided that UK Coal failed in their duty to consult with the Union as required under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and the company has been ordered to pay remuneration to all relevant employees who were dismissed between 21 May 2014 and 26 December 2015.
In their Judgement the Employment Tribunal was satisfied that the company did not consult with the NUM in good time as it was not entered into at a formative stage when meaningful consultation could have taken place. The tribunal said “if there had been consultation at a formative stage, that is , before the plans had been set in stone there would have been an opportunity for the Claimant to be involved in discussion with regard to avoiding or delaying the closure”
The NUM was represented at the five day hearing in Sheffield by John Hendy QC and the Union’s legal officer, Harry Eyre who said “Credit should be given to Chris Kitchen for this result. It was his tenacity and insistence that the case should proceed when the initial advice was not optimistic that has made this possible. The case was made more difficult by the Government’s decision to fund the legal costs of the Respondent company which wasn’t the situation when the UDM made similar claim following the closure of Thoresby. In spite of this the decision demonstrates that there are consequences for an employer who chooses to ignore the rights of Trade Union members”
NUM General Secretary Chris Kitchen said “Although this is a tremendous result for the men at Kellingley it is a tragedy that the Union was deprived of the opportunity to influence the decisions made by the company at the time. If we had been consulted from the beginning the outcome for the colliery might have been different”
In fact because the company is now in liquidation the awards will be paid by the Redundancy Payments Service and will be subject to a statutory cap of 8 weeks pay up to a maximum of £3800.
We will post details here of how to claim as soon as these are available.

Breaking News – Victory For Kellingley NUM

Decision on the NUM Protective Award claim has been received today. The claim has been successful. It covers all mineworker grades where the NUM was recognised (549 men) who were made redundant on or after 21 May 2014 and is for the maximum of up to 8 weeks pay (£3,800 as limited by legislation).


Centrica plc the company which owns British Gas announced that electricity prices will rise by 12.5% from mid September 2017. “The 12.5% electricity price rise this September reflects the increasing costs of energy policy, and delivery to customers’ homes since 2014. In that time, overall electricity costs have increased by 16%.”

The news comes just six weeks after the government wrote to OFGEM reminding them of what was said in the Conservative manifesto and in the Queen’s Speech “My Government will ensure fairer markets for consumers. This will include bringing forward measures to help tackle unfair practices in the energy market to help reduce energy bills.” Read letter

British Gas is the last of the ‘big six’ energy firms to increase prices. Energy prices are already rising more quickly than the average salary, and many people are struggling to pay bills as it is.

Centrica say the increase reflects the increasing costs of energy policy and who is responsible for energy policy?

The outlook for electricity prices isn’t great and electricity prices will no doubt increase again with coal fired power stations closing and more expensive forms of generation replacing them.

Woodhouse Colliery Planning Application Successfully Submitted

West Cumbria Mining (WCM) are delighted to report that the Planning Application for their Cumbrian Metallurgical Coal Project, called Woodhouse Colliery, was submitted to Cumbria County Council (CCC) on 31st May 2017.

The planning application documents, which include the Environmental Impact Assessment and extensive details of the project designs, were hand-delivered to the CCC offices in Kendal by Caroline Leatherdale, Head of Environment and Planning and Kevin Murphy, Head of Project Delivery.

The planning application has subsequently been validated by CCC and allocated the reference number 4/17/9007.

If you wish to express support for, or concerns about, the Project, these can be submitted to CCC by mail, email or online. It is important that these are submitted by the 10th July 2017 for opinions to be considered by CCC.  Details on how to do this can be found on our website  Formal notices have been hand-delivered to neighbours of the site whilst planning notices are being displayed in the Marchon and Pow Beck locations.

A full copy of the planning application is available to view on the CCC planning website, or at WCM’s Haig offices up until the 10th July 2017. A full copy of the planning documents can also be obtained on a memory stick or CD from the WCM Haig office for £5.

WCM will be hosting public update events on the 23rd, 24th and 25th June (10am-4pm) at their Haig offices, where full details of the planning application will be presented and the WCM team will be available to answer any questions you may have.

Helen Davies, Communications Manager, commented, “This is a significant milestone for the project and the local area.  We do hope that people will take up the opportunity to voice their support or concern to ensure that the Project progresses in a way which best suits the majority.  We are looking forward to our open days at the end of June and hearing people’s thoughts – they have previously been overwhelmingly positive and we hope that this support is translated into supporting our planning application.”

WCM will also be holding a Suppliers Open Day on the 12th July from 10am-4pm at the Haig offices, with an open invitation to representatives of local companies who may be interested in future construction and operational contract and supply opportunities to learn more about our procurement process and to meet the project team.

Congratulations To The Labour Party

Congratulations to the Labour Party for gaining the support of people which now gives hope that life will improve for the many.