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The Decline Of The Industry Continued
After Nationalisation 1947

Book 6

1988 Pages   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12  

1988 - Page 1

NACODS Overtime Ban

From January to February 1988 the NACODS union imposed an overtime ban in support of a wage claim. BACM management personnel worked on safety examinations underground during this period, to keep the mines producing coal at normal shift times. 1,600 Deputies and Supervisors in Nottinghamshire staged the strike, the first in their history.

Cave In At High Moor Drift Mine

There was a massive cave in at High Moor drift mine in January 1988 and 10 men were trapped. Ernest Hardy (9483) the Manager played a major role in rescuing them and was later awarded the Queens Commendation for brave conduct and a St Johns Silver medal for life saving following the incident. The Derbyshire mine, originally in North Derbyshire Area had been transferred to South Yorkshire Area in 1987.

President For Life

Arthur Scargill was re-elected President of the NUM for life! He beat John Walsh his opponent by 54% to 46% in a ballot on 24th January 1988

Further Records

A record output of 27,461 tonnes in 5 days was produced at Sherwood (Nottinghamshire). The men worked longer hours, took one another off on the face, ate part of their meal (snap) at the beginning of the shift and the rest at the end.

There was also a record advance of 226 yards (207m) in a 14 x 10 feet (4.26 x 3.05m) arched roadway.

A record output for a Deep Soft face at Clipstone (Nottinghamshire) reached 12,587 tonnes on 30th January 1988.

Ollerton broke the output record for the second week running with 35,011 tonnes and similarly Harworth produced a record 33,500 tonnes.

Storms, with winds reaching up to 106 mph struck the region again on 10th February 1988.

NACODS Dispute And Strike

There was no coal production at Ollerton (Nottinghamshire) on several days 6th to 11th February 1988 due to a NACODS (Deputies union) dispute and strike in support of a wage claim. Later, on 16th May there was a further disruption to coaling at the colliery due to a large fall of ground.

Privatisation Of Electricity

On 25th February 1988 the Conservative Government announced plans for the privatisation of electricity, except for Nuclear Electric.

The new West Burton B Power station will burn 5.5m tonnes of Nottinghamshire coal in a pledge by CEGB chairman Lord Marshall when he addressed the Nottinghamshire UDM Section conference.

Yearly Production Figures

For the financial year 1987-1988 Bilsthorpe (Nottinghamshire) produced 1,221,600 tonnes from the Parkgate and Low Main, with 998 men. A vertical bunker had been commissioned in the pit bottom area.

The manpower in Nottinghamshire Area had now fallen to 20,324. The output had increased to 17,612,739 tonnes. South Derbyshire pits 1,361,162 tonnes, 1,703 men, 3.48 tonnes OMS. North Derbyshire output 4,656,340 tonnes, 6,172 men, 3.42 tonnes OMS.

Cotgrave (Nottinghamshire) produced its 13th and last one million with 1,000,252 tonnes from Deep Hard and Blackshale, with 1,417 men.

Gedling production improved to 848,279 tonnes from the High Hazles seam with 1,268 men. However a large slip about 120m long and 4m wide developed on the waste tip causing concern, and was probably due to very wet waste material being tipped in the position of the slip and was aggravated by recent heavy rainfall. The Surveyor Richard Clarke (6009) was called upon to monitor the position on a daily basis until a large amount of waste material had been removed from above the site and the tip classified as stable once more. The local HMI was involved as it was classed as a dangerous occurrence and had to be reported. The tip at Gedling (Nottinghamshire) was the largest in the region.

Markham (Derbys) production reached a maximum of 1,710,981 tonnes produced by 2,132 men in 1987-1988.

Single Entry Working At Sherwood

Single-entry working and wide-coal headings were introduced in the Deep Hard/Piper seam at Sherwood in order to work coal under densely built-up areas by partial-extraction. The Surveyor Robert Quincey (5415) was called upon to monitor subsidence survey lines set up underground in old roadways in the Top Hard and also on the steep 1in6 cross-measures drift equipped with conveyor and high-speed manrider (15mph - a frightening ride for the first time I found), above the 7m wide coal headings with pillars of 30m to note and record any movement.

Service Related Holidays

Service related holidays were granted to staff personnel from 1st April 1988.

An extra:-

  • 3 days leave for 30 years service
  • 2 days for 25 years service
  • 1 day for 15 years service.

HM Inspectorate

The Chief Inspector of Mines A Harley (1982-1988) retired and his Deputy Dr MB Jones succeeded (1988-1993).

Fred B Turton (5713) District Inspector retired (at one time Undermanager at Pleasley, Manager at Shirland then Silverhill) and was succeeded by Ken Tyldesley (9500).

The Office in South East Leicester was closed and all Inspectors for the region were located at the Worksop Office.

HMI Ken Tyldesley (9500) continued along with Malcolm R Bottomley (5747). G Hugh Thomas (4915) Senior District Inspector for North Midlands was promoted to Principal Inspector at London. (He had also been an Undermanager at Pleasley in 1954). Of course the Inspectors generally worked from home.

Shaft Signals

Electronic shaft signals and self-diagnostic interlocking systems were installed at Ollerton No2 (Nottinghamshire) manriding and materials shaft. Again this was a pioneering venture.

Bevercotes visit

At Bevercotes (North Nottinghamshire) the Kents Thick seam was accessed. By chance, I happened to be there on an underground visit with the Surveyor Graham Hall (6025) ARICS and Manager Robert (Bob) W Robson (10955) as the virgin coal seam was being exposed in the heading. To me it looked a very bright coal. This was the first known working of the seam in the area.


A rapid loading bunker was commissioned at Harworth surface (Nottinghamshire).

Security at Collieries

From 1st April 1988 the security of collieries in Nottinghamshire was allotted to Group 4. All transport was sold off to NPT. Also in future, charges were to be made at the Laboratories for any services.

Senior Management

John H Northard (4954) was appointed Deputy Chairman of NCB from 1st May 1988 (previously appointed a Board Member 1st Apr 1986-1988). He had been Director Western Area then North Derbyshire Area and was appointed Operations Director 1985, (d N 2012)

Albert Wheeler (7349) Director of Nottinghamshire Area gave a pledge that there would be no pit closures in Nottinghamshire if production goes up all round. He added that the good pits had got to produce more coal to help the pits that were having problems.

Fighting To Keep The Pits Open

Calverton miners were fighting hard to keep the pit open as it was announced that the pit was losing millions of pounds. Jobs had already fallen by 400 due to redundancies in the past year. The manpower at present was 970. An output of 16,000 tonnes of saleable coal per week was needed.

Cadley Hill (South Derbyshire) and Harworth (Nottinghamshire) were on 6 day working to try to improve results.

Blidworth surface men were now on a supplementary bonus scheme which was now earning them up to £20 a week more.

Blidworth UDM committee stepped in to save the weekly Friday afternoon tea and biscuits function at the Welfare because the Welfare ‘had run out of funds’.