‘Final nail in coffin’ for coal

Monckton Coking plant, Royston.
Monckton Coking plant, Royston.
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Barnsley job losses are ‘final nail in coffin for coal industry’

Hargreaves Services have launched a 45-day consultation on potential redundancies at the Monckton Coke and Chemical Company in Royston, Barnsley.

The firm said that although talks continue with key export customers, a ‘significant’ change in market conditions and customer demand would be needed to secure the plant’s future.

Monckton was budgeted to make a profit of £2 million in the current financial year, but the company said the outlook beyond this year was ‘very poor’ given current market prices.

Gordon Banham, chief executive of Hargreaves, said: “Hargreaves acquired Monckton in 2005. Whilst great progress has been made by the team in improving efficiency and environmental performance over the past 10 years, the coke markets have become increasingly challenging for the business.

“I have worked closely with the management team and it is with great personal sadness that we find ourselves having to start this consultation process.”

Steve Morris, regional officer of the GMB union, said the consultation is due to end on December 11, after which he expects the plant to close.

“The shop stewards have been expecting this news,” he said.

“The plant is linked to a coalfield that no longer exists. This is a sad day. It marks the final nail in the coffin of the coal industry in Yorkshire.”