FORMER miners’ leader Arthur Scargill is embroiled in a legal battle with his union after claiming the Yorkshire NUM’s trust fund should pay him more than £15,000 towards a new car and cover his telephone bills.
Mr Scargill, the NUM’s former president, appeared in court in Sheffield yesterday seeking to force the union to pay a car allowance of £15,220 he says he is due plus phone bills for his home in Barnsley and his mobile. He is also seeking damages.
The legal action is the latest step in a long-running dispute between Mr Scargill and the NUM over the continued payment of perks and allowances.
In a separate action against the national NUM, Mr Scargill is claiming reinstatement of payments for security bills at his home, accountancy fees and cash in lieu of a concessionary fuel allowance.
In turn, the NUM, whose membership has dwindled to about 1,800, is challenging his lifetime entitlement to a three-bedroom flat in London’s Barbican. Both cases are set to be heard later this year.
Mr Scargill retired as NUM president in 2002 but then became a paid consultant to the Yorkshire and the Lancashire NUM Area Trust funds which operate welfare schemes. He received car and telephone allowances as part of the deal but they were stopped by the union when his full-time membership ended last year.
Mr Scargill’s claim is against the Yorkshire Area Trust Fund and four trustees. Yesterday’s hearing was told when Mr Scargill enquired about a contribution from the trustees towards a new car in December, 2010 he was offered just £50. James Laddie, counsel for the Yorkshire Area Trust Fund, suggested Mr Scargill performed little work for the Trust Fund and never travelled very far in his duties.
Mr Scargill had compiled a list of 58 “cases or issues” he dealt with from June 2007 to September 2010, one of which was signing five copies of a book for a retiring union official. When asked if that was business he replied: “Of course it is.”
He claimed some work was “quite substantial” although from April to August 2008 there were no entries at all. “There has never been a complaint about my work,” he told the hearing. “I have never refused any instruction given to me at all by any of the area secretaries.”
When Mr Laddie put it to him that for “large periods of time” he did no work at all for the Trust Fund Mr Scargill replied: “With respect most people who know me concede that I have spent more hours on work for the NUM in Yorkshire than any other official in history.”
The case continues.