25 years ago this week: Thursday, December 25, 1986

THE whole future of the Whittle Colliery complex was this week balanced on a knife-edge amid a flood of rumours that it could be facing the axe early in 1987.

And as the miners at the pit prepare for their Christmas break until January 5, it emerged that they could be getting the present they dreaded most with an announcement on the pit’s long-term future imminent.

A statement is to be issued early this week.

National Union of Mineworkers’ branch secretary at Whittle, Mr Bill Smith, admitted as we went to press that rumours about the pit’s future were circulating and causing concern.

He said they were ‘abounding’ among different sections of the workforce that ‘something could be happening’ at the colliery.

Mr Smith added that a specially convened meeting of the workforce on Sunday morning had agreed to completely lift their overtime ban, which had been operating in protest at high production targets and other matters.