CONDEMN THE DEFAMATION OF NUM SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINIAN MINERS
The NUM is disturbed by the smears against our union regarding our approach to the conflict in Ukraine. These smears have been promoted mainly by elements on the outskirts of the Labour Movement, sadly some who should know better have been willing to give air to such defamation. We at the NUM have long experience of those who would seek to sow divisions and discredit us and we have proven record of defending ourselves when necessary.
It is shamefully claimed the NUM has joined the camp of our enemies and abandoned our history of working class internationalism. Some even asserting we have crossed into the same camp as fascists and taken the line of NATO. Let us set the record straight.
The NUM has not based its response to the Ukraine crisis on what the British or Russian media tell us, we have not been charmed by the opportunity to sit in their TV studios and accept without question their government's line. Instead we naturally turned to our fellow miners unions with whom we have a friendship stretching back decades, the Trade Union of Coal-Mining Industry (PRUP) and the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPGU). The very first statement issued by the NUM Executive Committee was clear:
"The NUM supports the international principle of self-determination and expresses its support to our brothers and sisters in the miners' union PRUP, who are calling for all interference from outside Ukraine to stop. The NUM calls for a peaceful resolution to the current issues facing the people of Ukraine and our thoughts are with all the miners' in the Ukraine who we regard as our friends."
During some of the worst fighting in Ukraine we hosted a delegation of miners at the Durham Miners Gala in 2014 that were warmly received - yet our hospitality is now denigrated by assertions they were not miners but national union officials from Kiev. This is untrue, the delegation was from Donbas and the speaker that addressed the Gala was chairman of Dnipropetrovsk branch of PRUP.
The NUM has sent two delegations to Ukraine; we have visited industrial areas, met national union officials, local branches and rank and file miners. We have also met with activists of the wider labour movement. The NUM attended and addressed the joint union congress of Miners of Ukraine on 21 April this year. We are proud to have taken part in a protest by thousands of miners in defiance of riot police at the Parliament in Kiev against pit closures.
Those attacking the NUM seek to question the legitimacy of the Ukrainian trade unions. Yet we have seen with our own eyes that the miners unions are not slavishly following the oligarchs and the government - they are resisting as best they can - pit closures, austerity and anti-union laws. The NUM is being attacked because we support fellow trade unions that appeal for solidarity instead of the armed forces that hold a third of the territory in Donbas. Despite the wishful thinking of some Putin's Russia is not sponsoring a revived 1917 style soviet republic or a Spain of 1936. It is clear the take over in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk area was initiated by rival oligarchs and Russia out of their own vested interests. In those areas the existing labour movement has been suppressed, trade unionists have been kidnapped, tortured and even murdered. This is common knowledge and has been reported to the international trade union movement repeatedly.
The NUM have received the following message from miners' in the Ukraine:
" Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Everybody from PRUP and I greatly appreciate your support in our current difficult times. DTEK management also extended its appreciation to you and thanked you for finding time and visit the Ukraine and West Donbas to shared your great experience in the upholding mineworkers’ rights, how conduct ourselves with the state leaders and how protect the Union members and their families. Every meeting enriches our professional and cultural experience and helps find new ways in our struggle for mineworkers’ rights and overcome difficulties, and helps in the searching of new possibilities for the establishment of the International Union of Mineworkers Organization.
Every day spent by your NUM Delegation in Pavlograd, Dnepropetrovsk Region will be held in the memory of our people who had a good chance to watch all our meetings and negotiation on TV and read much in our newspapers. A special powerful impression was made on our Union activists during a big meeting on the bank of the river Samara.
On behalf of Dnepropetrovsk Territorial Organization of Union of Mineworkers of Ukraine I would like to thank everyone who had to work hard to assure the successful visit of NUM Delegation to Ukraine. We will continue our warm relationships and look forward to having new meetings in the nearest future.
With kind regards and best wishes,
LEST WE FORGET
Extract from President of NUM Will Lawther's speech to 1945 NUM Conference
Today for the first time in six years we meet with the evil forces of Fascism and Nazism in Europe overthrown, and the idols in Italy and Germany in ashes. A vital part in this victory has been played by the miners. Despite the strain and difficulties of the war years, despite the shortage of manpower, the poor quality of timber and belting and other materials, the shortage of food, they have cut and raised the coal to enable the war effort to go forward. Especially would I pay tribute to our older members who have carried such a heavy burden during the war; over 100,000 of them over 55 years of age. Large numbers of workmen over the age of 65, and in some cases, 70 years of age, are still working at the coal face. These truly are the heroes of labour, without whose endurance the war could not have been won. Let the Press do a little less shouting about absenteeism and give a little more recognition to the work of these men at an age when many company directors seek a rest from their far less arduous toil.
In those far-off days before September, 1939, we urged and warned the Government of the day that the gangsters who had destroyed liberty and democracy abroad would do it here if a halt was not called and a stand made against them. Often it seemed as if our appeal had fallen on deaf ears. There are many today who rejoice, but who hesitated and doubted and alas, would fain have gone with the dictators, if they could have had guarantees that it was only the democratic forces that were to be destroyed. Mankind has paid a terrible price for the appeasers of Hitler and the crowd of worshippers at the Nuremburg Carnivals. No wonder that many of these appeasers want to forget how they heiled to Hitler and his murderers. We cannot forget nor will we allow those who attended the Nazi rallies to forget that the inauguration of the agonies of the common folk began in Spain The aid that was given to Franco has been returned a thousandfold in blood, sweat, tears and broken hearts. Let those wicked sycophants, those supporters of the evil spirit of Nazism, realise that they paved the way for Hitler. We shall not accept their alibis; mankind can have no use for those who bowed the knee and fawned on the forces of evil.
To all those men and women of the free world, whether in the air, on land, or on the sea, who gave their lives for freedom, we pay our tribute. There scarcely exists a home from the Russian steppes across Europe, over the Atlantic to the shores of the Pacific, including South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, from which loved ones have not gone, never more to return. Words cannot express those losses, it is the duty of those of us who are given the right to live by their sacrifices to resolve that they have not died in vain. We stand in their honour, and solemnly resolve not to allow a moment to be wasted in our endeavour to give to those they loved the right to a new way of life, freed from the cares and anxieties that were their lot in the past.
Tories Welcome State Ownership
Electricity de France (largely owned by the French State) who operate Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station say it will run for at least 60 years and should be capable of producing enough electricity for 5 million UK homes each year.
The Government say they “will support new nuclear power stations as we move to a low-carbon future. Hinkley Point C will kick start this and is expected to be followed by more nuclear power stations, including Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. This will provide essential financial and energy security for generations to come.”
The UK Government have announced that a deal has been signed with the China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) whose owner is State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council i.e. the Chinese State.
So here we have an electricity industry once owned by the UK now owned, built and run by the French and Chinese states. The so-called “free-market economics of the Tories” has resulted in State ownership of the future of electricity generation in the UK and the irony is that it is not UK state ownership but other countries who unashamedly support their own industries by not applying the “free-market” philosophy.
So what went wrong? Using technology developed in the 1960's Drax, Ferrybridge and Eggborough Coal Fired Power Stations in Yorkshire produce enough electricity for 12.5 million homes. We do not have estimates for clean up costs but when coal fired power stations are closed the legacy of coal will not leave future generations saddled with nothing like the vast costs related to nuclear power.
The UK Government say the plans will make sure that the tax payer doesn’t pick up the decommissioning costs for Hinkley C however current nuclear decommissioning is estimated at over £70bn, a figure which rises every year.
The legacy of coal fired stations is that the land will be available to build factories, shops, homes, schools and hospitals unlike Berkeley, Bradwell on Sea, Dungeness, Heysham, Hinkley Point, Oldbury, Seaton Carew, Seascale, Sizewell and other nuclear sites.
It may have been 1960's technology but the 3 power-stations in Yorkshire had capacity for 8GW which is equivalent to 5 of the proposed Hinkley C 1.6GW reactors. With clean up costs for Sellafield alone running at over £50bn why is investment not put into installing clean coal-fired power stations that would result in significant savings for the people of the UK and ensure safer legacy for future generations? You probably already know the answer to this.
Why shouldn't Kellingley and Thoresby have remained open into 2018?
In a report prepared for the NUM and TUC "Merits of UK Coal State Aid Application" it is argued that rather than close Kellingley and Thorseby in 2015 they could remain open until 2018. Other EU member states have and still are benefiting from the fund whilst making a case for extended funding.
"It can be seen that our European competitors are taking a strategic decision to support their coal industry during managed wind down of uncompetitive coal mines, and are providing substantial sums under European State Aid regulations. As an example, Germany’s closure plans are designed to address the social impact of job losses, and specifically to allow sufficient time to enable direct and indirect supply chains to adjust. To date the UK has made little use of state-aid provisions for the sector, either under the previous regulations or current Closure Aid."
The full report can be read here http://www.num.org.uk/uploads/26/1184.pdf
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