The first wave of redundancies at Thoresby Colliery is looming, with owners UK Coal confirming hundreds of miners will begin to receive official letters by the end of the week.
Between 250 and 300 workers – around half the workforce at the pit – will have the correspondence posted to their homes informing them that their jobs will be ‘at risk’. UK Coal says that each man who receives a letter will be invited in for a consultation meeting, where their position will be discussed before a final decision is made.
However, the miners have not been told who will receive the letter.
One worker who contacted the Chad but did not want to give his name said: “Everyone is just going to be waiting for the postman to see if they receive a letter.
“The notice went up on Thursday to say letters will be distributed this Friday.
“We have known for weeks this has been coming, but we’ve only had one management meeting in that time, everything has been through word of mouth. People’s hearts are just not in it any more, how can they be? Everyone is just waiting for the axe to drop.”
Gordon Grant, spokesman for UK Coal, said: “We’ve consulted with the trade unions and the next stage is to consult on an individual basis with everyone at Thoresby, and that will happen over the next four weeks.
“The right thing to do will be to deal with it on an individual basis.
“Nobody will be made redundant until the end of their contractual notice period.
“The letters will only tell them that they are at risk of redundancy.”
But there are fears the decision is to be made on a points scoring system for each worker, earned through attendance, ability, achievement and skills - especially as more than 77 employees categorised as ‘development workers’ have no points.
Alan Spencer, general secretary for the NUM in Nottinghamshire, said: “It will be all of the development workers and the rest made up of other workers.
“It’s just ridiculous when we have all this coal in the ground and is still profitable.”
UK Coal announced earlier this year that they needed tens of millions of pounds to stave off insolvency.
They are still in negotiations with the Government, along with rival mining group Hargreaves Services and Harworth Estates, about a £20m loan to press ahead with a ‘managed closure’ - winding down production before eventually closing in late 2015.
But some are still hoping that an investor can be found, with millions of pounds worth of coal still under Thoresby waiting to be mined.
MP Mark Spencer said: “We knew these letters were imminent but we need to retain as many jobs as possible if it’s going to be commercially viable.”