Miners: We’ve been robbed of half our pensions

Miners are fighting for cash.
Miners are fighting for cash.

An angry group of ex-miners who say they have been robbed of half their pension fund are urging workers from across the industry to join their national campaign.

Ex-miners around the UK say it is a great injustice that their pension fund worth billions has been siphoned off by successive governments.

Under a deal made in the 1990s, the Government agreed to underwrite the pension, but in return take a huge chunk of the surplus each year, with £750 million paid into Government coffers last year alone.

The UK Mineworkers Pension Association for justice and Fair Play Association is campaigning to get the 50/50 split of mineworkers pension surplus renegotiated.

The Mineworkers Pension Scheme said Trustees are committed to continuing to seek opportunities to improve the position for members.

Former Thoresby Colliery miners Michael Newton and Charles Chiverton are official reps for the region with around 50,000 former mineworkers affected.

Michael Newton, 52 said: “In real terms our pensions have been slashed in half by successive governments - we have been financially penalised all the way to the grave.”

“We are all in this together whether it is UDM or NUM - we are all affected by this. I want as many ex miners to sign up our campaign as possible.”

He estimates the current pension fund of £11.2 billion has been whittled down by at least £8 billion over the years.

Charles Chiverton, 53 a miner for 27 years, added:”I am furious there is a growing realisation we have been treated disgustingly, duped and dishonoured.

“We want to regain control of our pension scheme back from the faceless ministers who are robbing our scheme and our benefits which we have paid into all our working lives.

“No stone will be left unturned no faceless politician or minister will get in our way. It’s time to stand together one last time.”

For further information visit the UK miners pension scheme, for justice & fair play association, on Facebook.

Dan Whincup, Scheme Secretary, Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme said: “We are in dialogue with the ‘UK Mineworkers Pension Scheme for Justice and Fair Play Association’ about their concerns over the 50:50 surplus sharing arrangement between the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and the Government.

“This arrangement was put in place in 1994 when the coal industry was privatised. At that time, 50 per cent of the surplus from the scheme was used to provide all members with a 7.13 per cent pension increase and 50 per cent was payable to the Government.

“The Government left its 50 per cent share in the scheme as a reserve and this has acted as a buffer to provide protection to members’ benefits ever since.

He said the Government provides a guarantee for the Mineworkers Pension Scheme members that their pensions can never fall in cash terms, even in difficult economic conditions.

Members’ share of surpluses since 1994 mean that pensions are on average 33 per cent higher in real terms than they were in 1994.

He said the Government has received £2,584m from its 50 per cent share of surpluses over the same period.

He added: “Changing the Government guarantee and surplus sharing arrangements requires the joint consent of the Government and the trustees of the scheme.

Previous attempts have been unsuccessful and the trustees have focused on other changes to the advantage of members such as negotiating an additional valuation in 2013 and the extension of the buffer from 2019 to 2029.

“The Trustees are committed to continuing to seek opportunities to improve the position for members.”