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RALEYS Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Judgment
The judgment of the solicitor’s disciplinary tribunal against Raleys solicitors has been widely reported with headlines giving the impression that the six partners involved failed to give a proper service to the miners and families of deceased miners that they represented. That they illegally deducted money from the compensation that they obtained for their clients for VWF and RD conditions.

The tribunal chairman in giving the judgment made the following points. These were not reported which gave a distorted view of the decision of the tribunal.

• We wish to make it clear at the outset that Raleys have not taken a penny for themselves from amounts of compensation obtained for miners or from estates of deceased miners.

• The chairman made it clear that there was no suggestion that the service provided by Raleys to its clients was in anyway deficient, and said that there was no doubt that Raleys gave a good service so far as the amounts claimed for its clients was concerned.

• Finally there is no allegation of dishonesty against the respondents (Raleys)
According to the latest figures, Raleys has so far secured £342 million in compensation for miners and their families, at an average of £5,000 per claim.
In the six years up to 2005, at which point the amounts of subsequent awards was artificially depressed by the government’s introduction of a fast-track variation to the scheme, Raleys clients were averaging £8,500 per claim, up to four times the averages of some other law firms in the region.

Raleys were also successful in obtaining damages for clients who had been misadvised by other solicitors on compensation claims.

In respiratory cases Raleys, used their own funds to top up any low-value settlements to £500.
While many law firms refused to handle so-called hard-to-win cases for fear of losing and going unpaid, on a point of honour, Raleys made no such distinction, and through their skill and expertise achieved some excellent results with such cases.
The National Union of Mineworkers has expressed amazement at the protest taking place at Drax Power Station near Selby in Yorkshire.

Steve Kemp NUM National Secretary said, ?This protest flies in the face of common sense. If these protestors had their way all coal fired generation in this country would stop and since coal is now providing in the region of 50% of the fuel needed to generate this country?s electricity there would be a catastrophic shutdown leading to power cuts for the National Health Service and all other essential services.

?The massive job losses, not just in coalmining, but in power stations and other industries would be devastating.

?We understand people?s concerns about the environment but the way forward is for the Government to take the lead in fostering clean coal burn, coal need not be black it can be green.

?The people behind this preposterous demonstration should instead be arguing, along with the NUM, for the development of Clean Coal Technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage, Coal Gasification and Liquefaction and the fitting of Flue Gas De-sulphurisation equipment to our power stations so that coal can be burnt cleanly and in an environmentally friendly way.

?This nation has been blessed with vast coal reserves which, given the current energy crisis, must be fully exploited.?
The National Union of Mineworkers responded angrily today to the announcement that UK Coal is to ?Mothball? Harworth Colliery in Nottinghamshire at a time when the Government is carrying out an Energy Review.

Harworth Colliery has vast coal reserves that this nation is sure to need if Britain is to establish ongoing energy security.

Steve Kemp NUM National Secretary said:

?It is astonishing that since the Government announced its Energy Review this company, UK Coal, has announced the closure of two Yorkshire pits. Mothballing has become code for closure and Harworth is a colliery that has contributed significantly over many years to this country?s energy needs. Lack of investment in the mine and its workforce is at the heart of this mothballing/closure and there has been no genuine commitment to the future of Harworth.

?This latest abandonment of coal reserves follows the closure of Rossington, near Doncaster, on 31 March 2006 - another closure that could and should have been avoided with proper investment.

?It is clear that UK Coal is more interested in realising the value of the land than securing Britain?s energy requirements in the face of rising gas and oil prices.

?Once again, the NUM calls on the Government to re-nationalise the British coal industry before we have no pits left and find ourselves at the mercy of foreign importers of energy.?

The National Union of Mineworkers has made a detailed submission to the Government?s Energy Review Consultation arguing the compelling case for Britain?s deep-mined coal industry which can be viewed on the NUM website at or a copy can be obtained from:

The Miners? Offices
2 Huddersfield Road
S70 2LS
FIFTEEN trade unionists were murdered for defending workers' rights in 2005, while more than 1,600 were subjected to violent assaults and some 9,000 arrested, according to the ICFTU's (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions) Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights violations, published today. Nearly 10,000 workers were sacked for their trade union involvement, and almost 1,700 detained.

Latin America remained the most perilous region for trade union activity, with Colombia once again topping the list for killings, intimidation and death threats. 70 Colombian unionists paid the ultimate price for standing up for fundamental rights at work. Other countries under the spotlight for violence and repression against unionists include Iraq, Iran, El Salvador, Djibouti, China, Cambodia,

Guatemala, Zimbabwe and Burma. Some Arabian Gulf countries continue to ban trade unions altogether, while in several other countries including

North Korea, government-controlled "official trade unions" are the order of the day. In Australia, the government rushed through new laws depriving the country's workforce of the most fundamental protections.

'This year's report reveals deeply disturbing trends, especially for women, migrant workers and those who work in the public sector', said

ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder. 'The death toll was slightly lower in 2005 than the previous year, but we are nevertheless witnessing increasingly severe violence and hostility against working people who stand up for their rights,' he added.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "All around the world, trade unionists stand up for people at work. So when authoritarian governments 'round up the usual suspects', or when bullying employers want to ride roughshod over employees and communities, trade unionists are always in the firing line. In the European Union where such human rights abuses are thankfully rare, we have a duty to draw the world's attention to the worst excesses of dictators and the free market, and the EU governments we elect have a responsibility to help unions to show solidarity for working people across the world.'

Alongside the 70 killings, 260 Colombian trade unionists received death threats, in a climate of continuing impunity for the assassins, and deliberate targeting of trade unions by armed groups. The education sector was a particular focus for repression, contributing to a growing phenomenon of violence against women workers.

Elsewhere in the Americas, eight rural worker's rights supporters were killed in Brazil, and in Honduras, regional trade union coordinator Francisco Cruz Galeano was slain last December. In Guatemala the pervasive climate of violence and fear, especially against women workers, continued with workers in education, banking and agriculture amongst the primary targets.

The Bush Administration continued its efforts to undermine freedom of association and collective bargaining in the USA, helping to ensure that union-busting remained rife. One of the most notorious anti-union employers in the US, WalMart, spread its practices into Canada.

Several provinces in Canada also took further steps to weaken workers' rights. In common with other regions, systematic violations of workers' rights in export processing zones was a prominent feature in Mexico and the Dominican Republic in particular, with multinational companies profiting from low wages and exploitative working conditions, especially in supply chains in the textiles and metals sectors.

Export processing zones in several Asian countries, notably Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka were highlighted for anti-union action by employers, often with government complicity, as part of the relentless drive by many global companies to undercut their competitors.

In Burma, ten underground organisers of the outlawed Federation of Trade

Unions of Burma were caught and sentenced to prison terms of up to 25 years as the military junta reinforced its stranglehold on the country. Kim Tae-hwan, of South Korean trade union centre FKTU was one of 17 Asian trade unionists killed during 2005, run over by a truck driver who was following police orders to drive through a picket line at a cement works. Anti-union violence by police and security forces was repeatedly documented in India, Cambodia, China and several other countries.

Nepalese trade unions were at the centre of a civil society movement to restore trade union and human rights following the coup mounted by King Gyanendra, while workers were subjected to strict government control in North Korea, Laos and the Maldives, as was the single Vietnamese national union federation. Dozens of Chinese trade union activists remained in prison, and the authorities brutally repressed protests by workers in many different locations, with unconfirmed reports of the deaths of two demonstrators.

The conservative Australian government rushed a new wave of anti-union laws through the country's parliament at the end of the year, including heavy restrictions on workers' rights to trade union representation. Protection from unfair dismissal was removed from most Australian workers, and provisions were introduced for heavy fines against union officials and workers for even asking employers to provide paid leave or union-delivered training or to guarantee not to sack workers without god reason.

In the Middle-East, a series of protest actions by Iranian workers, including in the transport sector, met with heavy-handed police tactics and reports of torture and violence against strikers. Attempts to form a union by workers at the Iran Khodro auto plant, producing for Renault, were prevented by the authorities, and many of them were dismissed for protesting against non-payment of wages. One worker was taken away by company security staff, viciously beaten, and reappeared several weeks later in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. The conflict in Iraq made trade union activity extremely difficult, with 13 union representatives killed as a direct result of their union activities, including Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions official Hadi Salih, who was brutally tortured and murdered by assassins who invaded his home on 4 January.

Migrant workers suffered extreme exploitation in several Middle-East countries, including Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Jordan. In a number of these countries, unions were still totally outlawed, or subject to heavy legal restrictions. In the United Arab Emirates, 130 construction workers were violently attacked for going on strike, and some migrant workers remained unpaid for up to 16 months. In Bahrain, hopes that the government would take some positive steps towards bringing the law further into line with international standards were dashed with the promulgation of a new legal disposition which is in fact more restrictive. A positive move was made in Qatar, where a new labour code, although deficient in several respects, allowed for the creation of free trade unions.

In one of the worst incidents on the African continent, police in Djibouti shot one driver's union member dead and wounded several others, while a strike of dock workers in the same country was met with 170 arrests and 70 dismissals. Zimbabwe's trade union movement was subjected to continued harassment by the government, with death threats against trade union leaders, arrests and detentions of union members, and several cases of physical violence against trade unionists.

Rubber bullets and teargas were a feature of police responses to protests by workers in South Africa, two of whom were hospitalised as a result of police actions, while new laws in Nigeria placed heavy restrictions on the right to strike and totally banned trade unions for certain types of worker. The Ethiopian authorities targeted the journalists union for repression and maintained their ban on the country's teachers' union, several of whose members were detained and accused of high treason, and further anti-union action in the education sector occurred in Algeria and Cameroon. In Sudan, Egypt and Libya, only government-controlled national trade union centres were permitted.

In Europe, the heaviest repression against trade unions occurred in Belarus, where the Lukashenko regime failed to implement any of the recommendations of an ILO Commission of Enquiry, moving instead to consolidate the position of the government-controlled FBP organization and maintaining high-level interference in the affairs of independent unions. The Moldovan government also attempted to coerce health and education workers in particular into joining the authorities' "preferred" trade union structures.

The Turkish authorities were also responsible for acts of violence against education sector workers, and more than 500 Turkish workers were dismissed for their union involvement. Within the European Union, interference in and surveillance of trade unions was reported in Poland, while the German government refused to lift a ban on strikes by civil servants. The Lidl supermarket chain in Germany remained virulently anti-union, while the Gate Gourmet catering company was also singled out for its actions in Germany as well as in the UK.

ICFTU release: Brutal Suppression of Workers' Rights Detailed in Worldwide Report

The National Union of Mineworkers (Yorkshire Area) is to organise a Miners? Memorial Day to be held in Barnsley on 01 October 2006 at 11.00 noon at St Mary?s Church, Barnsley. The Memorial Day will be to commemorate all those miners who lost their lives working in the mining industry or as a result of working in the mining industry.

At the moment there is no official recognition of the thousands of people both, men women and in some cases children, who lost their lives.

Steve Kemp NUM National and Yorkshire Area Secretary said:

?For far too long there has not been a proper memorial for those who lost their lives as a consequence of working in the mining industry and the Yorkshire Area of the NUM is put that right so that the relatives, friends and descendents of those who paid the ultimate price for coal can attend a church service in remembrance of those they have lost.?

Further and better details regarding the event will be made available in due course.

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