The last 450 miners to work on a deep coal pit in Britain will receive severance packages from UK Coal at 12 weeks of average pay, the government has said.
Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire will close on December 18, bringing deep coal mining in Britain to an end.
Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper raised concerns that the country’s last remaining deep coal miners would not even receive the same severance packages handed to miners at Thoresby colliery in July.
But Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom has confirmed that UK Coal is in a position to pay the Kellingley miners their severance package thanks to a previous £10 million Government cash injection and “the excellent work of the miners”.
During a short debate on Kellingley, known locally as “the big K”, Ms Leadsom said: “I know you are concerned that Kellingley miners were at risk of not receiving the same package as that received by the Thoresby miners.
“I would like to emphasise to you that thanks to the excellent work of the miners and the £10 million cash injection, UK Coal has enough cash to be able to pay the Kellingley miners being made redundant this month the same severance package as the miners at Thoresby received.”
Ms Cooper had raised concerns that miners were working their final shifts with “no certainty, just threats hanging over them” to work harder in order to receive their severance.
She also called for better packages of training and support for those that will now be out of work, claiming they had been “betrayed” by the Government which she said could have kept the pit open longer.
The Labour MP said: “What they’ve got at the end of decades of keeping our lights on, powering our factories, fuelling the nation, they’ve got the worst deal of any of the hundreds of thousands of miners who have left the industry over many decades.
“Frankly I think that these miners have been betrayed and let down by UK Coal and the Government. The Kellingley miners who left in July at least got severance pay in lieu of notice, 12 weeks of average pay.
“But as of today UK Coal haven’t even said that they will guarantee the remaining workforce that severance pay.”
She said ‘threats’ were hanging over the miners to work even harder as the end draws near.