Earth First! Winter Moot

Defending the Douglas Valley

Hambach Forest Ocupation

South Lanarkshire COALcil

Mainshill Zine

Coal in Scotland

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Last week Scottish Coal bosses sprung the news of up to 200 job cuts on their employees, calling a mass meeting of workers at the Broken Cross site in South Lanarkshire. That’s a fifth of their entire workforce in Scotland. Up to 50 employees could lose their jobs in the Douglas Valley with 30 going at Glentaggart as the mine comes to a close. Where the others are to go isn’t clear.

One Scottish Coal employee working in the Douglas Valley is reported to have said that they felt this was a case of the company “pointing a pistol at the head of the council” to ensure planning permission for new developments was granted.

He continued: “When you look at these proposals, already being talked about with the council, plus those which are in the pipeline for future years, you have to wonder why this announcement has been made. We all feel we are simply being made pawns in some game between the council and company,”

Scottish Coal said: “The potential job losses are extremely regrettable but we have to act now to ensure the business is in good condition to continue its vital role of supplying Scottish coal to UK power stations.

“While demand for coal remains strong [we have] experienced some recent difficulties in meeting the timetable for new and replacement sites. Subject to finances, economics and planning approval, Scottish Coal plan to open several, new sites in 2012 and 2013, which will provide more job opportunities in our industry.”

Karen Gillon MSP made some non-committal, unintelligible comments. David Mundell MP followed suit. No changes there then.

So what does this announcement show? A few things. Firstly, that Scottish Coal cares as much about its workforce as it does near-by communities. Opencast workers are seen as expendable, with temporary contracts and poor pay and working conditions. Scottish Coal hire and fire with little regard for the impact on their worker’s lives. They’d rather lay off hundreds than see their precious profit margins affected.

Secondly, Scottish Coal are worried about future mining operations. With a seven month delay at Maisnhill and a defeat in Midlothain (presumably what they mean by “experienced some recent difficulties in meeting the timetable for new and replacement sites”) the bosses must be feeling the heat. And with anti opencast activity in the Douglas Valley gaining steam, they’re worried about their new applications.

Finally, perhaps they’re not so sure that the Council will keep doing their bidding for much longer. With anti-Council sentiment at an all time high in South Lanarkshire (approving opencasts and toxic waste incinerators won’t earn you any friends!) maybe, just maybe they’ll listen to the people. Its either that or at best getting voted out of council (or at worst suffering a corruption investigation with much greater consequences…).

Job losses are Scottish Coal’s stick that they’re waving at the donkeys in South Lanarkshire Council (the carrots being jobs with the mining company, “retainers”, Christmas card sponsorship, etc). If there’s anything that gets a Labour-dominated council going, its the vague promise of jobs, even if there’s no real job creation in opencast.


5 Responses to “Scottish Coal threatens Council with job cuts – but will they fall for it?”

  1. 1 concerned employee

    As a concerned employee, I have been in their employment for a number of years and when it comes to pay off’s, they can be quite brutal. Usually looking after their own, and gettin rid of the rest. At the moment the construction trade isn’t at its best yet after recent recession. so finding new work and employers wont be easy….. Wether your for or against this type of fuel, the alternatives are just not there at this time… jobs are jobs no matter where you look and right now we’re all having to look at alternative work, whatever it may be?? The coal industry no matter how ugly it may be has been good to me over the past years, giving me work when all other construction work wasn’t there. Like all the boys at scottish coal, am just hoping I still have a job to go to…. in the weeks coming???

  2. 2 debris

    you work with Scottish coal. You know the value of the land that surrounds you. Open your eyes and inform those who line their pockets of what is there. Yes you are a pawn. Congratulations. Life is too short – If you need work – look around you dont have to work for somthing that blights the landscape and causes ruin. I fully respect your wishes and needs to work but i dont agree with what your employers do (employers who come from afar and frankly dont give a toss about the “individual”). . Sometimes it is hard to make brave decisions in life – maybe your just about to truly do that. If and when you are here in 50 years time – will you be proud of all this – and be happy to let your grandchildren know you were part of a cog in a pathetic crumbling machine ?

  3. 3 already made redundant

    as the header states ive been selected for redundancy, and let me tell you this no matter what DEBRIS says i agree with CONCERNED EMPLOYEE its not a case of environmental awareness. Brave decisions dont feed my children blights on landscapes do. and COAL fired powerstations fuel your pc or laptop upon which you rant your balony, now i wouild have to say that such comments are unreasonable from afore mentioned DEBRIS as i am not alone in facing lengthy dole queues and back in the race for that NEW job which is posted, there are 200 employees who for whatever reason joined scottish coal, upon the understanding that “the jobs here as long as you want it” only to get cast aside as if they were never there. and yes i am a tad bitter but only for the fact that i have 2 YOUNG children who i dont want to have the same upbringing as me, and i dont want them living in some hippy-settlement, therefore i will go out and gain another job (probably in the same industry) so that i never have to say “daddy cant afford that baby cause im not working.” and so that my wife can stay working on reduced hours so the kids will know who we are.


  4. 4 venezuela

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article
    and the rest of the site is also very good.

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