Big K negotiations move a step nearer

Rebecca Whittington (Pontefract & Castleford Express) hands over the newspapers petition to save Kellingley pit from closure to UK Coal's Director of Communications, Andrew Mackintosh.'L to R) Pit manager Shaun McLoughlin, miner Steve Thompson, Director of Communications Andrew Mackintosh and Rebecca Whittington.'p305b325
Rebecca Whittington (Pontefract & Castleford Express) hands over the newspapers petition to save Kellingley pit from closure to UK Coal's Director of Communications, Andrew Mackintosh.'L to R) Pit manager Shaun McLoughlin, miner Steve Thompson, Director of Communications Andrew Mackintosh and Rebecca Whittington.'p305b325
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Pit bosses say they are nearing a deal to save Kellingley Colliery from closure.

UK Coal is continuing to lobby the government in a bid to save 700 workers at the Weeland Road site from the axe.

Andrew Mackintosh, UK Coal communications director, said the company was hoping to make an announcement about the future of the site within the next week.

He told the Express: “We are hoping to make an announcement early next week.

“Discussions are still ongoing and we still have some things to iron out.

“But the fact that we are talking is positive and we are working towards a positive outcome.”

The Express handed over a petition to save the colliery, containing more than 250 signatures and copies of campaign reports, to pit bosses on Monday for use in their talks.

Mr Mackintosh said: “It’s been extremely tough the last four months as we try to save around 2,000 jobs including 700 at Kellingley. But we are grateful to everybody for their support.”

The Express campaign has been backed by Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper and Selby MP Nigel Adams.

Mr Adams said: “I have been in regular contact with ministers and UK Coal on the crisis facing Kellingley and I am grateful to the government for its continued work to ensure the viability of Kellingley.

“I am hopeful that a deal can be done.”

Rebecca Whittington, Express editor, said: “The petition can still be signed and we hope to be able to hand over more signatures in future weeks.

“We would like to thank readers for their support, this is such an important issue. We are hopeful that the campaign will add more weight to the talks to keep ‘Big K’ open.”

Visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-kellingley-colliery-open to sign the petition.