WORKERS at one of Yorkshire’s last remaining deep coal mines have voted to support an 18-month managed closure of the site.
Staff at UK Coal’s Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire were asked if they would support a plan, backed by £20m of investment from the Government and private sector, which would see the pit, and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, close.
In total, 79.9 per cent of staff voted in favour of the plan.
Of 719 ballot papers that were sent out, 685 were returned. 575 voted yes, 81 voted no and two papers were spoilt.
UK Coal spokesman Gordon Grant told The Yorkshire Post the company was “pleased” with the ballot result - but could not confirm the managed closure would definitely go ahead until they had the support of investors.
He said: “Clearly this is a positive result in that the majority at Kellingley have shown that they are prepared to work to the plan,
“Now we will take that back to those willing to invest £20m in that plan.”
He said he hoped they would have spoken to stakeholders “by the end of the week,” and added the ballot result was a “significant hurdle” that had been crossed.
Mr Grant said: “But we have still got a long way to go before we sign the papers to allow the investment we need to save the business.
“It is important that we got the £20m into the business quickly but it’s up to our investors to make sure they are happy with everything they have seen and heard.”
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have fought the closure of the colliery, which would see 700 job loses at Kellingley.
Around 60 contractors have already lost their jobs and consultation has begun on redundancies planned for May and October.
Keith Hartshorne, NUM delegate at Kellingley and Yorkshire vice chairman said: “We were told that the ballot result would need to be ‘overwhelming and significant’ for the plan to be backed by investors. 79 per cent seems overwhelming to me.”