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Author The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 17:11:33
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Lecko wrote:

Odd having two different agreements at one pit too!!


I wonder if this sheds any light on the 'two cuts' issue (at a local level) as previous posts now seem contradictory regarding 'Agreements'?

Is this possibly a local agreement reached via a weak management/strong union situation was the result of my mates statements?
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Lecko

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 18:04:26
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Morlock wrote:

Lecko wrote:

Odd having two different agreements at one pit too!!


I wonder if this sheds any light on the 'two cuts' issue (at a local level) as previous posts now seem contradictory regarding 'Agreements'?

Is this possibly a local agreement reached via a weak management/strong union situation was the result of my mates statements?


At that time, there were no norms in the New Power Loader Agreement. If a face had problems, the faceteam didn't lose anything.
On the old PLA, if they hadn't cut the agreed shears, the "norm", they didn't get paid on the contract. they went on a "fall back rate" and had to do day rate jobs at the fall back rate, which could be lower than the rate for that job...Just one of the pitfalls of contract mining. Rippers got paid by the rings they set, so if the face was stood, they were sent to do other work on the agreed contract fallback rate.
I'm not aware of when bonus was introduced or how it worked in NCB/BC pits. I was on bonus in Australia, and it was a "rising" bonus. It worked on all coal the mine produced, started at a certain tonnage and for every thousand tonnes over that the bonus increased, we equated it to shears to give us an idea how much we were making. We knew the daily, weekly tonnages by the conveyor weighing equipment at the top of the drift belt. Lack of bonus was a good incentive at face changeovers, to get the face cleared of equipment and reinstalled on the new face as quickly and safely as possible..One bad accident could hold the move a few days until the investigation had been completed. Luckily we never had any serious accidents relocating a face.
They used to take 8 weeks, then Management together with crews got it down to 3-4 weeks with better planning. Which suited everyone, we got back on bonus and our product remained a competitive price.
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 18:41:52
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Lecko, many thanks for your continued input on how the various incentive schemes operated.

I'm also now much happier that a member on another forum has confirmed he remembers the 'two cuts' issue, and the reasons for it.
It would seem that management/collier relations differed vastly by pit and area.

I would also suggest that 4 day working would be ideal if operated on the system I worked, 4 on/4off and only 141 shifts a year, not sure how that would work at a colliery though.
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Lecko

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 20:22:45
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Morlock wrote:

Lecko, many thanks for your continued input on how the various incentive schemes operated.

I'm also now much happier that a member on another forum has confirmed he remembers the 'two cuts' issue, and the reasons for it.
It would seem that management/collier relations differed vastly by pit and area.

I would also suggest that 4 day working would be ideal if operated on the system I worked, 4 on/4off and only 141 shifts a year, not sure how that would work at a colliery though.


My guess is, modern collieries work 24/7/365, probably 10 to 12 hours a shift for four shifts worked.
The cost of a modern longwall face is enormous both initially and to operate.
One Australian colliery now has the M/G AFC motor running on 11Kv, the highest voltage in the world at the face itself...
Mines both in Australia now drill boreholes to carry 11Kv cables from a surface substation to eliminate long runs of underground cables, thus reducing voltage drops and increasing face horsepower.

I could never have dreamed of such large faces in the 60's when we thought a 200hp shearer was considered large.

But, going back, norms were negotiated at unit level, not area. At pits working several seams, known conditions would play a large part in what was classed as a norm, as would which end of the seam the face was at a colliery.
Take Clifton in Nottingham as an example, 12's in Deep Hard was cutting just over 5ft at the western edge of the pit, on 41's in Deep Hard, it was around 42 inches thick at the far east of the pit, both heading south. Deep hard was known to be much harder to cut on 41's end of the seam than at 12's end of the seam, so each face would have different norms based on thickness and hardness.

Low faces, you could also cut more shears per shift, lots of variables for the faceteams to negotiate with the Manager over.
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 20:40:58
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Impressive new working methods and fine tuning of electrical distribution, prompts me to enquire if there was any use of inverters on any drives underground? Always remember they did not like cooling fan blades going through the Thyristor bank on industrial installations, Lol.

Also, IIRC, there was a thread somewhere which mentioned (and illustrated) cutting the bottom out of thick seams with the top of the seam continuing over the hydraulic supports to fall to a second conveyor. Any idea what the system was called?
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Ty Gwyn

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 21:30:41
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Morlock wrote:






I also believe the main reason for keeping open Welsh pits during a time of falling demand was purely political, i.e. spread the work as done with the numerous nationalized car plants supplying products for assembly to plants many miles away.

The Government was trying to do it's best for everyone except the general taxpayer, the miners strike was purely political as Scargill stated in the video!



One has to ask the question regarding this Fall in demand,
Winter before last the UK burnt more coal than in the 80`s,mainly foreign imports,the Collieries were shut on Price not the falling demand.

The government was doing its best for itself,inline with their Privatization plans,and a strong Union had to be got rid of.
The Miner`s strike was not political,it was Scargil that was political as well as the government of the day.

What is rarely mentioned about this time of the Strike,was the 97 working Smallmines in South Wales alone,employing going on for 2,000 workers,owned by Tory voters,its workers not supported by the Union it payed its dues to,thrown on the scrap heap by both sides of the fight,
Foreign imports from China in 86/87 brought a reduction in ROM coal prices = drop in wages in some Smallmines,the electric generators were paying £10 per ton less for UK coal than foreign,
From when i started working in Smallmines from 75 to 85 it was a booming industry,they could`nt get enough coal out,private housecoal sales were roaring,so much cash floating about some was passed back to us in part wages and overtime,
After 85 it was a downhill spiral to the end,

That small industry was destroyed by the Government in its vendetta against the NUM for its downfall of the Heath government,and its move to Privatize the large profitable Collieries,
We were already Privately owned and manned by a not militant workforce,What went wrong?
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Buckhill

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 21:38:53
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Lecko, the two different contracts would be down to start date of the installation. Anything started after the implementation of the '67 PLA went on that, anything started before was on the old "bargains" which you mentioned earlier. We had a face started on the old contract (1965) which stopped, for several months at a time, to allow lateral developments from it, including gob scours for the gate roads, but every time it started up again it was on the old system and only finished about 1975/6. The lads liked it, even though it was down dip and wet, because they could negotiate, something that didn't happen on the new system until the incentive bonus scheme came in. IP: 86.134.217.44
Lecko

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 22:02:25
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Morlock wrote:

Impressive new working methods and fine tuning of electrical distribution, prompts me to enquire if there was any use of inverters on any drives underground? Always remember they did not like cooling fan blades going through the Thyristor bank on industrial installations, Lol.

Also, IIRC, there was a thread somewhere which mentioned (and illustrated) cutting the bottom out of thick seams with the top of the seam continuing over the hydraulic supports to fall to a second conveyor. Any idea what the system was called?



You're meaning the Longwall Top Cave In Method, developed in France many years back, perfected by the Chinese. This is for very thick seams of 30 to 40 odd feet in thickness.
There are several of these faces in operation in China and one in Australia.
Caterpillar who own what was once Anderson Strathclyde, are in the process of redesigning the gate end roof supports for the Australian mine to reduce downtime in shearer "turnaround" From what one of my members has posted, he works for Cat, he says it's a very successful operation.

I'm not up on mine electronics these days, been out of the industry for some 25 years now and retired.
Last electronics I worked on were thyristor "soft start" drives on the gate belts at my last pit, and DC drives for the personnel carriers and electric locos at the same pit.
We were still using direct on line start motors, and AFC's were still using fluid couplings to reduce startup loads.
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Lecko

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 22:05:13
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Buckhill wrote:

Lecko, the two different contracts would be down to start date of the installation. Anything started after the implementation of the '67 PLA went on that, anything started before was on the old "bargains" which you mentioned earlier. We had a face started on the old contract (1965) which stopped, for several months at a time, to allow lateral developments from it, including gob scours for the gate roads, but every time it started up again it was on the old system and only finished about 1975/6. The lads liked it, even though it was down dip and wet, because they could negotiate, something that didn't happen on the new system until the incentive bonus scheme came in.


I saw a few contracts negotiated in the gates, damaged cable to run outbye to the outbye supply area, blokes would snatch those after a few hours of overtime, icing on the cake...LOL
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 22:15:47
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Ty Gwyn wrote:

We were already Privately owned and manned by a not militant workforce,What went wrong?


In view of your enlightening info on market conditions at that time I can only assume a combination of things listed.

Government did not see coal as 'the future', high on the list in all probability?
Environmental issues such as cheap/cleaner gas?
H&S regulation implementation cost?
Changing domestic heating trends?
General lack of cohesive UK energy policy?
The cost of coal plants vs many smaller CCGT installations?

The list of possibilities seem endless to a casual observer!

The place I worked at went from diesel power and steam generation from heavy fuel oil to fluidized bed boilers for steam, (coal from Hem Heath/Daw Mill) and eventually ended up with two gas turbines with exhaust re-heat for steam. IIRC it could be started, loaded and stopped, via a telephone line.
Obviously a cost reduction exercise in many ways.

I'm about to empty the ashpan of our Squirrel stove and will think of the merits of gas as I pass the boiler.
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 25/10/2014 22:32:19
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Lecko wrote:

You're meaning the Longwall Top Cave In Method, developed in France many years back, perfected by the Chinese. This is for very thick seams of 30 to 40 odd feet in thickness.
There are several of these faces in operation in China and one in Australia.
Caterpillar who own what was once Anderson Strathclyde, are in the process of redesigning the gate end roof supports for the Australian mine to reduce downtime in shearer "turnaround" From what one of my members has posted, he works for Cat, he says it's a very successful operation.

I'm not up on mine electronics these days, been out of the industry for some 25 years now and retired.
Last electronics I worked on were thyristor "soft start" drives on the gate belts at my last pit, and DC drives for the personnel carriers and electric locos at the same pit.
We were still using direct on line start motors, and AFC's were still using fluid couplings to reduce startup loads.


That's the name I was looking for, I couldn't remember what I was looking for.

I've been out of industry for over 10 years so things may have changed again since.
Soft start was usually fitted to large cranes/gantries with thyristor drives for larger machine drives.
Anything with a fluid coupling had an annoying habit of blowing the fusible plug if a stall condition persisted for and length of time.
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Coggy

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 01/11/2014 02:07:45
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Indian coal miners earn 0.60/0.70 GBP per day, not stated is the rates for Chinese miners. Thats the reason the deep mines in the UK are failing.


--

I grappled a graptolite
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Graigfawr

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 01/11/2014 11:39:46
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UK currently imports coal mainly from Russia, Colombia and the USA, with smaller amounts from Australia, South Africa and the EU; there is also a very small proportion aggregated together under "other countries": see Chart 2 in https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/170721/et_article_coal_in_2012.pdf

India is a significant coal importer rather exporter: "Currently, the gap is being filled by expensive imports that are weighing on the country’s balance of payments. India is the world’s fourth largest international buyer, importing some $15bn’s worth of coal last year – a large part of the country’s $154bn trade deficit." ( http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/10/29/breaking-indias-coal-monopoly-is-it-the-answer )

Most of the Indian coal industry is state-run: "private groups are only given licences if they are users of coal for, say, power generation or steel production. This is known as ‘captive mining’. Otherwise, Coal India, the state-run group, has a monopoloy and is responsible for 80 per cent of the country’s output." "Coal India is often lambasted for being an inefficient behemoth. It has repeatedly failed to meet production targets, leading to power shortages that cause an estimated loss of 0.4 per cent of potential economic growth every year, according to the Eurasia Group." ( http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/10/29/breaking-indias-coal-monopoly-is-it-the-answer/ )

"According to the latest official estimate, more than 20 million tonnes (mt), worth about Rs 4,000 crore, has been shipped out over the past decade." http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/shortage-hit-india-exporting-coal-to-china-and-japan-112070602011_1.html

China and Bangladesh are the main destinations for Indian exports, followed by Nepal, Japan and Bhutan: see table on http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/shortage-hit-india-exporting-coal-to-china-and-japan-112070602011_1.html
IP: 92.29.6.65 Edited: 01/11/2014 11:46:13 by Graigfawr
Ty Gwyn

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 01/11/2014 11:58:54
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And China only exports a small amount of Anthracite into the UK through Hargreaves into Immingham docks,
Although this was not the case in the years after the Strike when the UK market was swamped with Chinese coal,in the Small Private Mines at the time we were paid on £8 to £10 per dram produced as against a Chinese Miner on £2.50 per week.
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Morlock

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The 84/85 strike by Adam Price MP.
Posted: 01/11/2014 15:00:49
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Ty Gwyn wrote:

Although this was not the case in the years after the Strike when the UK market was swamped with Chinese coal,in the Small Private Mines at the time we were paid on £8 to £10 per dram produced as against a Chinese Miner on £2.50 per week.


Probably the most damaging factor for small mines omitted from my earlier list?
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