Deal saves 2,000 coal mine jobs

UK coalA deal to save 2,000 jobs at eight UK coal mines has been announced as their owner went into administration.

UK Coal collapsed after a devastating fire that closed its Daw Mill pit in Warwickshire in March but a restructuring has seen the remaining mines taken over with the backing of Britain's pension rescue scheme.
%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%The closure of Daw Mill sees 350 workers being made redundant but another 120 have been transferred to other sites, said the company, which supplies 5% of the UK's energy needs.

The deal also largely protects payments for 7,000 pension fund members. All of those who are already collecting their pension will continue to receive it at the same level while around 3,000 yet to retire will receive 90%, said a spokesman for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF). Other current employees belong to a separate, defined contribution scheme and will be unaffected.
The future of the mines came under threat after the disastrous fire at Daw Mill, which represented around a third of UK Coal's revenues. Under the restructuring, the viable parts of the business will be held in individual companies owned by a new business operated as UK Coal Production. A new employee benefit trust is expected to run the business.

Kevin McCullough, chief executive of UK Coal, said: "Today is very much a day of mixed emotions, but this is the best outcome that it was possible to achieve. Entering administration and the subsequent restructuring was the only way we could preserve any of the business and while I'm delighted we've saved 2,000 jobs, we've also had to make some very difficult decisions.

"I'm pleased that we managed to transfer 120 of our Daw Mill colleagues to our other mines following the fire. Our thoughts today also rest with the 350 colleagues who will now, regrettably, be made redundant as a result of Daw Mill closing."

David Kelly, of administrator PwC, said the deal "guarantees continued supply of electricity to the UK and keeps the lights on".

Martin Clarke, PPF's executive director for financial risk, said: "By taking on the scheme, we will now protect the pensions of its 7,000 members and they will receive PPF compensation, either now or in the future, to provide them security in retirement.

"The agreement also means that we will receive regular payments from the company which we expect to produce a higher return in the long run than if the company had simply been allowed to collapse into insolvency. This is good news both for our members and our levy payers."

Britain's most dangerous jobs
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Deal saves 2,000 coal mine jobs

By far the most dangerous job across most of the world is fishing. Apparently 103 in every 100,000 fishermen will die at sea - most of them by drowning, and according to Oxford University, those who work at sea are an incredible 50 times more likely to die at work than anyone else.

How well they are rewarded for risking their lives depends on where they fit in the pecking order. At the very top, with your own boat and crew, in a good year, you could bring home more than £100,000. At the bottom of the heap as a trainee deckhand you would be lucky to get more than £10,000 a year.

In the army, these experts have the nickname Felix - because they need every one of the nine lives. We all make mistakes at work and in this role mistakes will kill or maim you. 

In return for taking up such a dangerous role, you'll be paid £32,000 a year, which is made to look even more paltry by the fact that many of these experts end up drawing a disability pension before very long.

The risks of working with highly volatile and explosive materials in impossibly difficult natural environments is bad enough. Add in the risks of working in politically charged environments where you may well be a target for terrorists, and you can see why this is a dangerous job. In fact it has a fatality rate of around 32 per 100,000, and around 100 people a year die in the industry- around twice the average for all UK workers.

This risk, however, is reasonably rewarded - partly because of the fact it can be hard to attract workers to the places where oil and gas needs to be extracted. It's not uncommon for those with experience to be making £75,000 a year.

Put people up high, give them something heavy and awkward to carry, then get them to do it in the rain. It's not surprising this is a dangerous job. What is perhaps surprising is that over the past five years 30% of all work-related deaths in the UK have been in this industry. The riskiest construction jobs are those where heights are part of the every-day business of work - with scaffolders, steeplejacks ad roofers facing the most danger at work.

The pay starts around £20,000 for skilled workers, rising to around £50,000 for site managers.

Around 54,000 road accidents involving professional drivers take place on British roads every year - which is around 250 a day. Meanwhile, one in four of all road deaths involve a driver who is at work at the time. Despite stringent rules about how long they are allowed to drive for, and in-cab telematics to make sure they don't bend the rules, tiredness is the main cause. 

In return for the danger, plus the long hours and the anti-social lifestyle, these workers can expect to earn around £25,000 a year.

The risks are perhaps unsurprising, given that drowning accounts for the majority of fatalities. However there are also problems from high gas consumption and mental health problems, often due to having to spend inordinate times decompressing in a confined space with another individual.

However, given the risks, the inhospitable locations and the skills required, the role can earn you £100,000 a year or more.

These are often ex-military personnel employed to protect wealthy or powerful individuals. The role is unsurprisingly highly dangerous, with the constant threat of terrorist attacks, enemy fire or booby traps.

There really is danger money associated with this job, which is another role than can earn the right individual 6 figures a year.

Around 15 police officers lose their lives at work every year. However, surprisingly, the biggest risk is from involvement in a road accident, which causes 70% of the deaths. Around half of these are officers getting to and from work. Meanwhile no more than one or two are killed by criminals in an average year. Fatalities, however, are only a small proportion of the massive number of injuries a policeman can pick up - with roughly one police officer injured every hour.

In return they can expect to earn around £40,000, rising to £55,000 for senior officers.

Again there aren't a huge number of deaths in the line of duty. However, every fire is potentially fatal, and every job carries the risk of injury. Injures are very common, although burns account for only 5% of them, the rest tend to be due to things like training and carrying equipment.

The pay has been subject to a number of arguments and even strikes but is currently around £30,000.

Perhaps it's surprising that this doesn't come higher up the list. Since 2001 over 350 have lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The front line is clearly just about the most dangerous environment possible, and has to be up there with the place that most people would least like to work.

In return for putting their lives on the line in the service of their county, army personnel can expect to be paid £14,000 when they start out - rising to up to £100,000 for the most senior officers.

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