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.

By Paul