FORMER miners’ leader Arthur Scargill said ‘justice has been done’ after he won more than £13,000 in damages from a trust fund of his own union.
The 74-year-old spoke outside court yesterday after a judge found there had been a ‘clear agenda to both disown him and to pay him as little as possible’ by the Yorkshire Area Trust Fund of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
It was found the former NUM honorary president’s employment contract was legal and enforceable and he was entitled to a £12,000 car allowance.
He had been offered just £50 towards a vehicle in January 2011.
But Judge Robert Moore rejected a claim that Mr Scargill’s telephone expenses should have been paid, as that was not outlined in his contract with the fund.
Speaking outside court, Mr Scargill said: “I’m pleased justice has been done.
“I demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt the action taken against me to allege my contract was not valid, my membership of the NUM wasn’t valid and my allowances were not valid has been disproved by the court.”
Mr Scargill, of Worsborough Bridge, Barnsley, said it ‘saddened’ him to take legal action after more than 50 years of union membership.
Judge Moore awarded Mr Scargill £12,000 in damages towards the car allowance, plus £470 interest.
He was also awarded £1,000 after the court ruled he had been denied union membership benefits for a period.
Costs are to be assessed, but £10,000 must be paid to Mr Scargill within 28 days.
In his three-hour judgement, Judge Moore found it had been ‘unlawful’ for trustees of the area fund to offer Mr Scargill £50 for the car, with one reason being ‘it was irrational and in bad faith’.
But he rejected claims for about £4,000 towards telephone costs.
Judge Moore said: “I’m satisfied the parties never intended to add the telephone costs. If they had so intended they would have put it in the contract.”
The court had heard Mr Scargill did not supply the fund with a list of duties he performed for them after saying he needed the car for union work.
Mr Scargill insisted he had done more work for the union divisions than ‘any other official in history’.
He had signed his contract in 2002 after retiring. His salary was about £26,000 per year.
The trial also heard the trust fund held £11.7 million, according to 2009 accounts.
The NUM has the right to appeal to the High Court.