In an interview filmed by Visnews on Jan 21, Mr. Will Paynter, president of the?
SOF ( Semi view CU seated at desk.)
Q. "Mr. Paynter, you have just come back from this meeting. What has been decided there?".
A. "The delegate conference for the majority vote, approved a number of recommendations not to take strike action.".
Q. "Have you decided how you are going to combat these pit closures?".
A. "We are organizing big demonstrations on the 24 and 25 Jan. On the 24, we have a big demonstration in Swansea where we expect anything between fifteen to twenty thousand people to be present, and on the same day in Aberdare and Rhondda we have similar demonstrations arranged, and on the 25 in the Maesteg area. We are also organizing mass lobbying of parliament. On the 29 January we anticipate that there will be anything in the region of a thousand people attending from South Wales at the lobbying. We are also proposing to meet representatives of the Government on the same day when we hope to be able to put our case against the closure of these pits and the resurrection of unemployment in this area.
Q. "Mr. Paynter, do you agree that the miners have contributing to pricing the coal out of the market?".
A. "No. I completely repudiate an allegation of that kind. I think that in relation to the export market that we have withdrawn as a result of deliberate Government policy in order to meet the expanding demand Government policy to meet the expanding demand - for coal inside our own country. As far as the English prices of coal are concerned to the industrial consumer, they are below the prices of similar goals in other European coal producing countries. We realize for the domestic consumer, prices are exorbitant. We feel it has been part of a Government policy to use the nationalized coal mining industry and the public to subsidize coal to British industry."
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Background: In an interview filmed by Visnews on Jan 21, Mr. Will Paynter, president of the South Wales area of the National Union of Mineworkers, announced that the coalfield conference held that day in Cardiff had decided not to take strike action against the pit closures to be made next month.
The Conference decided however, to stage a protest against the Coal Board's closure plans, by large scale demonstrations and lobbying of parliament.
The N.C.B. intends to close 36 pits in the country and the South Wales area will be the first to suffer from these closings. Six pits in the South Wales coalfield will be shut down and more than 2,800 men will lose their jobs on February 2. Miner's leaders have already held one protest march in London this month.
The Coal Board maintains that the closures are inevitable because of the growing stockpiles of coal in this country. British pits are overproducing and the demand for coal has been greatly exceeded. Because European coal stocks are also piling up. The export market has fallen. The Board has told miner' leaders that the men in the "shut down" areas will have to look to other industries for work.