Union of Democratic Mineworkers to sell headquarters

Striking miners in 1984
Image caption The union was born out of a bitter dispute about how the 1984 strike was being run

A miners' union has said it is confident about its future despite moving to sell off its Nottinghamshire headquarters due to falling membership.

The Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) once had more than 25,000 members but this has fallen to about 1,000.

It has now submitted plans to Mansfield District Council for its building on Berry Hill Lane to be sold for housing.

Despite this, officials said they believed mining would continue locally for at least a decade.

'Rattling around'

The UDM was formed in 1985 by Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire miners after a bitter split with the National Union of Mineworkers during the miners' strike.

At that time it represented workers at 17 collieries.

But government pit closure programmes and the struggle to be profitable in the private sector has seen this reduced to just one working deep mine at Thoresby.

UDM spokesman David McGarry said the slimmed down staff were "rattling around" the current headquarters.

"We want to move somewhere smaller, more suited to our needs, with lower running costs," he said.

But Mr McGarry insisted there was no suggestion of winding the union up.

"Even with the closure of Daw Mill, we still have about 1,000 members at Thoresby.

"We think there is eight to nine years of coal left there and the workforce could then be moved to Haworth, which is currently under care and maintenance."

Plans to build 22 houses on the site of the current headquarters have been submitted to the council and will be considered in the summer after a public consultation.

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