Government forces closure of Hatfield Colliery

Government forces closure of Hatfield Colliery

Prospect has blamed shortsighted government policy for the decision by employee-owned Hatfield Colliery, near Doncaster in South Yorkshire to stop producing coal with immediate effect.

Despite agreeing staff reductions with the three unions and being on the verge of starting its last coalface, the colliery was unable to agree contracts for selling its coal.

The colliery will close 14 months earlier than scheduled, with the loss of 420 high-skilled jobs and further job losses in the supply chain.

Prospect union represents 19 management team members at the colliery, which has been run by an employee-owned trust since 2013.

Prospect negotiator Mike Macdonald said: “Hatfield has been unable to sell its coal because of the government’s refusal to sponsor coal contracts with generators and the doubling of the UK’s carbon tax.

“Despite the continued demand for coal in electricity generation, Hatfield will start to close this week and the UK will have to rely on coal imports.

“Unlike other European countries that have a managed transition plan for closing their mines, the UK has decided to accelerate closures so all large deep mines will shut this year.

“The government has forced Hatfield to close – despite our members’ hard work setting up the final coal face that would have extended coal production until August 2016.”

UK Coal’s two last deep mines at Kellingley in North Yorkshire and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire will close later this year.