D-Day for Parkside
Battle-weary miners at Newton's Parkside Colliery have accused British Coal of putting a 'gun to the head' of the 500-man workforce.
by Melanie Whitehead
This follows an ultimatum which states that redundancy notices must be signed by 5.00pm today, Friday.
Failure to sign by the deadline would leave miners outside the covering court judgement which guarantees redundancy payments. This would mean 'serious disadvantaged' pay-off settlements for the miners.
The 'ultimatum' follows the High Court decision which ruled that British Coal had met tall the criteria required to close Parkside.
Care and maintenance work has continued at the Winwick Road site this week, despite a four-day 260 feet protest by four women from the Lancashire Women Against pit Closures Camp during the weekend.
Officials have maintained, however, that Parkside will effectively shut and be handed over to the mercy of an un-named private contractor today.
Parkside Colliery's NUM President, Tommy Meadows, told the Newton and Golborne Guardian: "The men are very disillusioned. They just do not know what to do.
"British Coal has given the men no choice. It has put a gun to their heads.
If they do not sign they do not get the money, and people have lost a lot of money already - sitting at home and not being able to work."
The NUM has attacked the situation which it believes has been turned into a compulsory rather than as British Coal described, 'voluntary', redundancies.
Mr Meadows added: "It is being described as voluntary redundancies, but if we do not sign by Friday, we do not come under the protection of the judge. How can they be voluntary?
Defiant Pit Women Still Fight With 'Barbie'.
Parkside Women (Evening Post 06/08/1993)
Pit doomed for closure, but campaigners vow to fight on
Barbecue celebrations for (from left) Linda Tomlison, Chris Hesford, Linda Robinson, Pat Harvey, Betty Evans, Sylvia Pye and Sue Wilson.
Wives of miners thrown out of work by the closure of Parkside Colliery in Newton-le-Willows are still on the fight and celebrated 200 days of continuous protest with a barbecue.
Rain failed to dampen the spirits - the 25 women, who have staged the protest at the Parkside's gates, have put up
|with much worse since they set up the caravans on January 18 this year.
One of the women, Susan Wilson, said: "We've tried to make things as comfortable as possible over the past seven months, and the camp is a real home from home now."
The barbecue was designed to keep the women in the public eye, some weeks after the last Parkside miner was given his redundancy and the pit closed.
British Coal are inviting bids form the private sector to run the pit, and tenders have to be dealt with inside of a month.
Susan said: "We're determined to go on protesting for as long as we can. We want to see Parkside open again and our men employed."
'Four' cheers for the defiant protesters.
Lucy Iannou, Sylvia Pye, Sheila Gregory and Christine Sumner are greeted by NUM President, Arthur Scargill, as they end their 80 hour vigil.
Picture by Newton and Golborne Guardian photographer, Eddie Fuller.
A Glorious Past Bites The Dust
By Simon Caldwell
IT TOOK just seconds to wipe decades of industrial history from the Wigan skyline.
The two huge towers of Parkside Colliery disappeared from the landscape for ever.
Hundreds of people looked on as a flare went up at l0am yesterday, then two loud explosions were heard.
The concrete towers of Parkside crumbled to the ground to be replaced by a vast cloud of dust that billowed out for hundreds of yards before it settled.
The towers had dominated the
Newton-le-Willows skyline since the late 1950s and their unglorious end was symbolic to the many thousands of former miners who worked under their shadows.
Their collapse marked the finale of the long and proud Industrial era of the Lancashire coalfield
The towers went down with the futile hopes that the pit, which closed with the loss of 700 Jobs in June 1993, could still be reopened in a new political climate.
Indeed, the fate of such a remote possibility had already been sealed when the mines' shafts were filled with thousands of tons of rocks earlier this year.
Sharlene Cullum, 16, of Wargrave Road, Newton, was one of a crowd of people who gathered at the redundant colliery to witness the event.
She said afterwards: "It went fast. I thought it would have taken longer to go down.
I expected it to come down quickly. I have got mining qualifications and I have studied explosives. It's very sobering to actually see it. Every day I turned up there for eight years and watched guys go down the shaft. I have seen proud men, with wives and kids, being destroyed. It's terrible."
A lot of people started crying. My dad was so disgusted. He used to work there. My mum wouldn't even let me take a picture at first. She didn't want to see it go down."
She added: "They were the first thing you saw when you came off the motorway. You knew you were home then."
Another onlooker, Mr Barry Gannon of Cross Lane, Newton, helped to develop Parkside from 1962 to 1967. He said the event had "represented a lot of jobs". Former coal face worker Mr Andrew Birchall, 33, of Coppull Moor Lane, Coppull, near Chorley, was more specific. He said: "I turned out to say goodbye. It's symbolic. It's the end of the British coal industry. I had tears in my eyes."
End of an Era . . . the Parkside towers are a heap of smoke and rubble
He said when he worked in the British coal industry, it wasn't about profit and money, it was about doing a job for the general good - an energy source.
"This is not just about the mining industry, this is symbolic of what they (the Government) have done to the working class".
The demolition was carried out by British Coal as part of the company's plans to turn the redundant land into a business park. Several firms have expressed an interest in the site.
Pit Vigil Ends - The Star, August 18, 1994
The two year battle to save doomed Parkside Colliery will come to an end on Saturday.
The Lancashire Women Against Pit Closures who have maintained a vigil
|camp at the Newton-le-Willows sitethrough out that time, announced on Monday that their protests will finish at the weekend.
An emergency meeting was called at the pit camp on Sunday night when two protestors listened to a report described the dismantling process at the colliery as irreversible.
The women plan a final demonstration rally at the camp on Saturday to mast the and of their vigil. before they leave the site.
A spokesperson, for the group said “Lancashire Women Against Pit Closures took the decision to remove the camp on the basis that there is no longer anything we can do to save Parkside Colliery.”
“The government wanted us to go quietly but by not doing that we have focused the public’s attention on the absurdity of the pit closure programme.”
See Also Stuart Tomlins