Miners’ rally in fight to save doomed Kellingley Colliery

MP Yvette Cooper at the Kellingley Club to launch the 'Rally for Kellingley' campaign. They want to step up their campaign now that the application for state aid to keep the pit open for longer has gone. She is with Keith Hartshorne / Tommy Mills / Chris Kitchen / Paul Kidger / David Nicholson / Keith Poulson. (P551A502)
MP Yvette Cooper at the Kellingley Club to launch the 'Rally for Kellingley' campaign. They want to step up their campaign now that the application for state aid to keep the pit open for longer has gone. She is with Keith Hartshorne / Tommy Mills / Chris Kitchen / Paul Kidger / David Nicholson / Keith Poulson. (P551A502)
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Miners at troubled Kellingley Colliery will reignite the spirit of the Miners’ Strike to fight against the pit’s closure.

Members of Kellingley’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch will join miners from Thoresby and Hatfield pits tomorrow (Saturday, January 31) to protest against the closure.

In September, UK Coal secured a £4m Government loan to fund the closure of the mine by the end of the year, with more than 700 job losses.

But Keith Hartshorne, NUM delegate at Kellingley, said the vent had been organised to put pressure on the government to keep the pit open until 2018.

He added: “We want to keep the campaign going and make sure there are no delays in getting a response from the government on a state aid application we have submitted.

“They seemed to have delayed decisions since the closure was first announced and every day that goes by the cost of saving the pit goes up.”

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper accused the government of “dragging its feet trying to kill off the pit by stealth, “ as workers at Kellingley prepare for the next wave of redundancies in April.

She said:“It’s 30 years this year since the end of the Strike, but round here people haven’t forgotten the way we stand together when things are looking tough.

“The government should be working flat out with UK Coal, private investors, the power companies and Europe to get a package in place to keep the pit open.”

Campaigners will met at Knottingley Town Hall at 12.30pm and leave for the march at 1pm.

They will move on to Kellingley Social Club on Marine Villa Road.

A rally will be held at the club from 1.45pm, including speeches from Ms Cooper and Dennis Skinner, a former NUM member.

There will also be a screening of the film Pride, which focuses on the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

Keith Hartshorne, Kellingley NUM delegate, said: “We want to stress this is not just an NUM or miners’ event. The closure of the pit will affect all of Knottingley and the wider area so the march and rally are open to anyone who wants to join.”