Wales Mining: it's only a word


6 September 1999
Mining is central to the economy of Wales. Thousands of people are employed directly in mining and thousands more in the supply and service sectors that rely on mining.

Working down a pit is hard work and can even be dangerous, but a camaraderie and a special kind of spirit develops among those who work in the mining industry.

Entire communities in Wales rely on mining , and there is little alternative to working down the pit for many young people. If they don't become miners, often the only alternative is migration to England.

Mining is of strategic importance to Britain. It is essential that we do not have to rely on the fuel industries of other countries. If we allow mining to decline to the degree that it cannot recover, we will forever be vulnerable to possible fuel crises and at the mercy of the ebb and flow of market forces outside our control.

In Welsh mining, we have a uniquely skilled workforce which could be scattered and lost if the industry is allowed to collapse.

Mining is a subsidised industry, but there are very good reasons for the subsidy and both the consumer and producer gain in the long run.

The government has never appreciated those working in mining despite the high productivity and efficient working methods adopted over the years. Ministers also appear unaware of the key role that mining and miners have played at moments of great crisis in British history such as during the two world wars.

The answer must be emergency financial assistance to the mining industry for the sake of the industry, the community and the nation as a whole.

...Alternatively, we could just close the lot down and make everyone redundant. After all, it's nothing personal you know, just market forces. If you can't compete in the world market, then you really should be in a different line of work....