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HANSON TOTALLY SUPPORTS PEABODY COAL

 LONDON, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- At today's extraordinary general meeting of shareholders, Lord Hanson, chairman of Hanson PLC (NYSE: HAN), said:
 "The leadership of United Mineworkers of America -- the U.S. mineworkers' union -- is conducting a campaign to threaten Hanson PLC and its shareholders on the financial consequences to Hanson of the current UMWA strike against two Peabody subsidiaries.
 "The unanimous view of the board of Hanson is that this strike is entirely a matter for the management of Peabody but I would like to make two things clear today.
 "First, Hanson supports Peabody 100 percent.
 "Second, I would like everyone concerned -- the union leadership and our employees -- to know that Hanson PLC will, if necessary, be forced to accept the short term costs in lost business in the sure knowledge that the union's demand for what it calls job security will, in the long run be much more costly, both in financial terms for Peabody and in the numbers of mining jobs lost by the union rank and file.
 "Hanson and Peabody seek a properly negotiated and fair labor agreement securing a future for those of our mines currently on strike and ensure the best possible employment terms and job security for our employees in the industry.
 "Threats and pressure tactics will not secure that. Sabotage will not secure that. We will not be intimidated nor will we abdicate the right to have our managers run their business. Irl Engelhardt and his colleagues have our complete support and I would now like to invite him to address you on this subject."
 Summary of statement by Irl Engelhardt, chairman and CEO, Peabody Holding Company, Inc., made at Hanson's extraordinary general meeting of shareholders today:
 --This is an unnecessary strike. Unfortunately, as I address you today, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) is not at the bargaining table. From the outset they have demanded totally unreasonable pre-conditions for any meeting. They have refused the offer to meet directly with the Bituminous Coal Operators' Association (BCOA) or even through the offices of the Federal Mediator, a U.S. Government agency.
 --On February 2, 1993, the UMWA struck two members of the BCOA, a multi-company bargaining group. The strike against Peabody Coal Company (PCC) and Eastern Associated Coal Corp. (EACC), both subsidiaries of Peabody Holding Company, commenced upon the expiration of National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement (NBCWA), which had been in effect since 1988.
 --The strike against PCC and EACC ended on March 3, when the parties signed a 60 day extension. After the extension expired on May 3, the UMWA began a series of selective strikes against BCOA member companies. As of today, there are 14,000 UMWA miners on strike at mines owned by seven different companies. The UMWA is threatening to expand its strike; it could eventually affect 42,000 miners who work under the NBCWA and produce about 28 percent of America's coal.
 --Earnings at Peabody for the six month period to March 31, 1993 were adversely affected by $23 million due to high customer stockpile levels, lower prices and the 32 day strike. While work at Peabody Coal (PCC) and Eastern Associated (EACC) re-commenced during the 60-day extension, the resumption and expansion of the strike since May 3, along with slowdowns and sabotage at mines, is continuing to affect Peabody's results. In fiscal 1992, PCC and EACC contributed slightly more than half of the total earnings recorded by the Peabody Holdings.
 --The UMWA have said that their major issue is "job security". The BCOA has said that being "competitive" with the much larger non-union segment of the industry is the critical issue.
 --The BCOA is seeking changes in the contract that will preserve jobs by making existing BCOA mines more competitive and create additional jobs by making new mines economically feasible.
 --The cost of labor at UMWA mines averages over $31 an hour and a UMWA miner can earn up to $55,000 per annum with overtime. That $31 an hour is $5 an hour more than at non-union mines and the average union miner is 28 percent less productive.
 --These conditions have translated into declining union-mined coal (now representing about 30 percent of all coal mined in the United States) and a decline in UMWA membership (from 133,000 miners in 1979 to 42,000 in 1992).
 --The BCOA has offered expanded job opportunities at new and existing non-union affiliates in exchange for flexibility in work assignment, scheduling and incentives for health care cost containment.
 --The UMWA is seeking guaranteed employment levels so that future employment of its members would not fall below January 1, 1993 levels. This despite the fact that dozens of union mines will close before 1995 as coal mine customers, such as electric utilities, switch to low sulfur coal to meet U.S. Government Clean Air Act standards.
 --The UMWA is also seeking a guarantee of a minimum of 40 hours pay per week regardless of how much miners actually work.
 --The UMWA also wants guarantees that all new mines to be opened by BCOA companies be automatically represented by the Union -- this is a clear violation of the American workers' right to vote on union representation.
 --The UMWA also wants the BCOA to agree that any BCOA-affiliated company would become UMWA mines if 51 percent of the workforce sign a union organizing card in a violation of the workers' right to a secret ballot.
 --The UMWA is seeking to have non-union affiliates of BCOA companies remain neutral during organizing campaigns, thereby denying employees the right to hear both sides of the issue before deciding on union representation.
 --The UMWA is also alleging that Peabody has engaged in "double breasting", or the establishment of non-union subsidiaries to produce bituminous coal. The UMWA contends that all parent company subsidiaries are covered by the NBCWA and, therefore, must employ UMWA members. The parent companies contend that they have a legal right to own both union and non-union companies. Despite this right, Peabody Holding Company, the parent of PCC and EACC has not opened any non-union bituminous coal mines.
 --A document giving the full Peabody perspective was distributed to shareholders attending the Hanson EGM.
 -0- 6/25/93
 /CONTACT: Irl Engelhardt of Peabody Holding Company, Inc., 071-245-1245, or Mickey Foster of Hanson Industries, 908-603-6977/
 (HAN)


CO: Hanson Industries; Peabody Holding Company, Inc. ST: IN: OIL SU:

MP -- NY009 -- 5640 06/25/93 10:10 EDT
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Date:Jun 25, 1993
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