York & North Yorkshire

Kellingley miners vote in favour of managed closure plan

Miner leaving the pit
Image caption In its heyday about 2,500 miners worked at Kellingley Colliery

The majority of miners at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire have voted to accept a managed closure of the pit.

The National Union of Mineworkers [NUM] said 79.9% of workers voted for an 18-month-long phased closure.

The NUM said it was "not nice to vote to put yourself or your mates on the dole".

UK Coal had previously said that if the miners had not backed the closure plan the pit could have shut down "within days".

Chris Kitchen of the NUM said: "At least the men will not be made a scapegoat for closing Kellingley early.

"The men had hoped to keep the pit open for a longer term future.

"It's been a tough decision, it's not a nice thing to vote to put yourself or your workmates on the dole."

There were 719 papers issue and 658 returned.

Of those 575 were for the scheme, 81 against and two spoiled.

Mr Kitchen said the ballot was 79.9% in favour of the managed closure, while 12% had voted against.

He said UK Coal classed the non-returned and spoiled papers as a "No" vote and so "the split was 80-20" in favour of the plan.

The government had offered UK Coal a £10m loan to allow it to carry out a "managed closure" of Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire.

Business minister Michael Fallon said the pits had no long-term future.

After the announcement of the ballot result on Tuesday, Andrew Mackintosh of UK Coal said: "The vote has been a great hurdle jumped over today, a good result I think.

"We were nervous before we went into it but the alternative to this was closure within a few days.

"So, difficult as this has been, it is the best option."

Mr Mackintosh said UK Coal would now report back to investors in the pit, including the government, to see if they would accept the result.

He added: "It was a significant vote, that's what the investors were looking for."

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