The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is set to fold after 60 years in which it dominated the industrial landscape.
The union, whose membership has slumped from around 500,000 after the Second World War to little more than 3,000, has opened merger discussions with the transport union RMT, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Informal talks between Steve Kemp, the national secretary of the NUM, and Tony Donaghey, the RMT president, are understood to have started in the late summer.
Although no formal proposals have been drawn up, the discussions included considering “a transfer of undertakings” – a legal step necessary for a merger to take place.
The demise of the NUM has been caused by the collapse of the coal mining industry, and the damaging rift during the 1984 strike that led to the formation of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers.