MP ‘shocked’ by lack of support for Thoresby miners

Sherwood candidate Leonie Mathers with miners who are facing redundancy and MP Rachel Reeves
Sherwood candidate Leonie Mathers with miners who are facing redundancy and MP Rachel Reeves

A leading parliamentary figure says she has been ‘shocked’ by the lack of general support being given to miners threatened with redundancy at Thoresby Colliery.

MP Rachel Reeves, shadow work and pensions secretary met with some of the 270 employees were sent letters by UK Coal recently to say their jobs were at risk.

She has now written to work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, and energy minister Michael Fallon, to ensure the workers were being given the necessary help in extremely tough times.

In the letter she wrote: “I was shocked to hear about the lack of support given to the miners, most of who have spent their entire working lives helping meet Britain’s energy needs.”

Those who were sent letters are now on ‘gardening leave’, and while some have given their details at the Job Centre, they have not heard anything back, while others have not been able to access services at all due to a lack of provision for shift workers.

She was also shocked that they have been told that re-training will only be made available from the Job Centre after six months out of work.

Ms Reeves was invited by Sherwood Labour candidate, Leonie Mathers, to speak with the miners as the campaign to save jobs and the pits goes on.

Last week coal firm Hargreaves pulled out of the potential deal to wind the pit down and close by the end of next year, throwing its immediate future into doubt.

Ms Mathers said: “Despite Hargreaves pulling out of the deal, I’m still fighting to keep Thoresby open. As long as 40 per cent of our energy still comes from coal it’s vital for our national energy security that we still have some British Coal to rely on.

“But we also need to make sure the guys who are already leaving Thoresby have access to new jobs and skills. It’s just not good enough for the Government to turn their backs on almost 300 men and leave them sat at home on benefits.”