Arthur Scargill wins £13,000 damages in dispute with NUM

Arthur Scargill outside court
Image caption The judge said Mr Scargill's work for the union had been "meaningful and considerable"

Former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Arthur Scargill has been awarded £13,000 in damages after he sued a trust fund of the union.

Mr Scargill, 74, sued the NUM Yorkshire Area Trust Fund (YATF) over a range of expenses he claimed he was owed.

Judge Robert Moore ruled at Sheffield County Court that he was entitled to a car allowance and awarded him £12,000.

Speaking after, Mr Scargill said the leadership of the NUM in Yorkshire had taken "vindictive action" against him.

He said he was "very pleased with the result".

He said: "This was about principle, fundamental and at the heart of trade unionism."

'Shabby' treatment

Mr Scargill was president of the NUM until 2002 and led the union during the year-long miners' strike from 1984 to 1985.

But in 2010 he was told he no longer qualified for full financial membership.

Judge Moore told the court that when the trustees began to question Mr Scargill's contract "there was a clear agenda both to disown him and to pay him as little as possible".

Mr Scargill's barrister Timothy Pitt-Payne QC said the trust had treated his client "in a thoroughly shabby way and in a way that was quite inappropriate, given his long and distinguished career within the union".

The court heard that Mr Scargill took up a role with the trust after he retired from his £70,000-a-year post as national president of the NUM in 2002.

Despite two trustees of the fund claiming they did not realise he worked for them, Judge Moore said in his judgement that Mr Scargill's work over the past decade was "meaningful and considerable".

The judge outlined how the former president's expertise was used in relation to the preparation of a range of legal cases.

He said these included an aborted attempt to reclaim £8m from the union's former solicitors, a long-running property dispute relating to union offices in central Sheffield and former miners' compensation claims regarding the condition vibration white finger.

Trustees appeal

The trustees disputed Mr Scargill's claim that he was entitled to an allowance towards a new car.

The court heard that he understood this was a benefit which carried over after he changed jobs in 2002 and was calculated using a complex formula but amounted to 80% of the cost of a Ford Mondeo over a four-year period.

This amounted to about £14,500.

The judge was told that Mr Scargill was paid this allowance in 2005 when he last changed his car.

But five years later, when he inquired again, the trustees began to question the very basis of his employment contract with YATF.

The judge also awarded Mr Scargill £1,000 in damages because he had been denied NUM membership during the dispute.

However, he rejected the former union boss's claim that he should have had his telephone costs reimbursed by the trust.

Chris Kitchen, the current national secretary of the NUM, said the action so far had cost the YATF £50,000.

He said the trustees would now consider whether to appeal but added: "Arthur enjoys the limelight and why should the NUM continue to spend money to give him that?"

He said all the parties were due in the High Court in October regarding a dispute over rent payments in Mr Scargill's flat in the Barbican in London.

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