This is a fascinating case of coal miners forming a cooperative business to buy out the coal mine from a company that plans to shut it down. Coops aren’t always about the sustainable solution, but it could save 700 jobs, so it would probably be hard to talk the coal miners out of it unless there were clean energy jobs ready to go.
Article by Marie-Claire Kidd
An employee buyout is on the table at one of England’s last remaining deep coal mines, Kellingley Colliery. Owners UK Coal plan to close the pit, which employs over 700 people, by December 2015.
Co-ownership Solutions, which supports employee owned businesses and workers co-ops, has joined the National Union of Mineworkers, the National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers and the British Association of Colliery Managers to work up a five-year business plan, which would be executed by the workforce.
UK Coal is in support of employee ownership at Kellingley. Along with the colliery’s management team it is feeding information to the steering group, which is currently considering the economic viablity of the pit.
Norman Watson of Co-ownership Solutions, who managed a worker buyout at Tower Colliery in South Wales in 1995, is chairing the steering group. “We’re putting together a plan to keep the colliery open for another five years,” he said. “We know it has at least another five years of coal in it without having to go into more heavy expenditure.”