Miners bag £2m in compensation over illegal closure of Ellington Colliery

More than 300 mine workers who lost their jobs after Northumberland’s last deep mine closed, will share £2m in compensation following a High Court ruling.

The miners, made redundant at Ellington Colliery in January 2005, after an inrush of water on its main production face, will each receive compensation payouts of up to £6,000.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the British Association of Colliery Management took action against the pit’s owner, UK Coal, claiming it was in breach of employment legislation requiring it to consult for 90 days over redundancies.

An employment tribunal ruled against UK Coal, which had claimed that floodwater made the mine unsafe and that it was not able to give the statutory 90-day redundancy notice before closing the pit in 2005.

The company appealed a ruling, which lead to a 15-month delay before the tribunal upheld the decision in October.

Norman Haslam, HR director UK Coal, said: “While the process has taken far longer than we anticipated, the constructive discussions held with the NUM and BACM in recent weeks have resulted in outstanding issues being amicably resolved.”

NUM president Ian Lavery said: “This is an important day for Ellington miners, who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

“The closure of Ellington Colliery was a major blow to the local community and the economy of the North East, and the compensation payments have been a long time coming.”

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