The overtime ban imposed by mineworkers in Britain in support of their pay claim is having a marked effect on the country's coal industry.
The overtime ban imposed by mineworkers in Britain in support of their pay claim is having a marked effect on the country's coal industry. With the overtime ban nearly four week's old, the National Coal Board, the government-established overseer of the industry, has announced that production is now down by a third. In some places, it reports, production losses are as high as 41 cent.
The effects of the action are compounded at a time when Britain is. facing a crisis in other sectors of the energy industry. Electrical workers have banned out-or-hours work, and the country is seriously affected by the cut-back in production by the Arab oil producers.
On Monday (3 December), the Chairman of the National Coal Board, Mr. Derek Ezra, warned of the possible danger labour disputes might have on the future of the coal industry. In a speech to the Coal Industry Society in London he warned: "We cannot halt the process of contraction if from one year to the next large tonnages of coal are lost through industrial disputes." He added, "the industry must not be seen in regular rotation from an annual wage confrontation to recovery and back again."
Mr. Ezra's warnings have been reinforced by statements by other Coal Board officials fearing inevitable pit closures. Many of the collieries have had to rely on administrative workers to carry out vital maintenance work to ensure the efficient functioning and safety of the pits.
At one colliery at Trelewis in Wales, the mine's Under Manager, Area Planner and his deputy were filmed performing vital operations to keep the pit's water pumps working. One of the officials was able to give a detailed description of his actions.