Taskforce meets to help save Scottish Coal jobs

WORK is well underway to help protect the livelihoods of nearly 600 Scottish Coal workers.
Taskforce meets to help save Scottish Coal jobs Taskforce meets to help save Scottish Coal jobs Taskforce meets to help save Scottish Coal jobs Taskforce meets to help save Scottish Coal jobs Taskforce meets to help save Scottish Coal jobs


Staff Reporter

The taskforce created in April to help reduce the job losses from the liquidation of Scottish Coal met for the second time on Monday.

The group includes representatives of affected councils, the Coal Authority, the relevant unions, the Scottish Government and its agencies, environmental agency Sepa and the UK Government.

Cross-party parliamentarians representing the coal field communities affected are also involved.

The taskforce was set up alongside the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust, which aims to facilitate the restoration of old open cast coal mines and create jobs in the process.

Prior to the taskforce’s second meeting at Scottish Coal’s site in Cumnock, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing told STV that the government was working hard to ensure as many jobs as possible were saved.

“The Scottish government is working to support continued mining operations and preservation of Scottish jobs, as well as ensuring the responsible restoration of sites,” he said.

Liquidators KPMG announced earlier in the month that Hargreaves Services had been confirmed as the preferred bidder for “various” company assets.

“Following consideration of the offers received, the interim liquidators will now be working with Hargreaves to finalise the acquisition of various properties, plant and equipment and stocks owned by the companies,” KPMG said in a statement last week.

Hargreaves was a likely contender after raising 42 million pounds last month to expand its operations and buy new mines, as well as buying the rights to take over the assets of Scotland's second-biggest open cast mining firm, ATH Resources, last December.

“I welcome the announcement by Hargreaves last week that a deal has been reached that will help save almost 240 jobs at ATH,” Ewing said.

“The Scottish Mines Restoration Trust will work with Hargreaves to facilitate the restoration of old open-cast coal mines across Scotland. The responsible restoration of open-cast sites across Scotland is expected to create, over time, hundreds of jobs across the country.

“Today’s meeting of the taskforce will continue will continue our work to ensure that all relevant parties are taking every possible action to retain as many Scottish Coal jobs as possible and the Scottish Mines Restoration trust will continue to engage with local communities, local councils, landowners and coal operators to ensure the best possible outcome for local communities.”

Immediately following the insolvency appointment, 590 employees were made redundant and all operations ceased. The remaining 142 employees have been retained to assist in securing the sites. It is now hoped that Hargreaves will be able to re-employ a number of the redundant staff.

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