FOUR ex-miners are closing in on the 100,000 signatures needed to take their fight over ‘stolen’ pension funds to Westminster, and have booked a date with Downing Street.

Ken Sullivan, Gareth Davies, Alun Parffit and Emlyn Davies have been campaigning for three years against the terms of the Mineworkers Pension Scheme, agreed between the UK Government and the National Union of Miners in 1994 when British Coal was privatised.

The government agreed to act as guarantor for two pension schemes - The Mineworkers' Pension Scheme, boasting 200,000 members, and the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme, with 57,000 members, with any surpluses split 50/50 between the Treasury and scheme members.


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It was initially estimated the funds would generate a £2 billion surplus over 25 years.

But the Mineworker Pension Fight says the government has made £10 billion from both schemes in just over 20 years, while the average pensioner has been getting just £84 a week.

According to published figures, £4.4 billion in surpluses have been taken by the Government out of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, and will make £427 million more over the next three years, while some miners and their widows survive on a £60-a-week pension.

But since 2016, the four ex-miners have been braving all conditions to collect signatures on the streets of old mining communities throughout south Wales. Now, the Mineworker Pension Fight petition has reached more than 91,784 names, with more than 5,000 waiting to be added this week.

South Wales Argus:

Ex-miner Ken Sullivan, 60, campaigning at Tredegar Market

Ex-Crumlin miner Mr Sullivan, 60, from Tredegar, along with Gareth, 70, and Emlyn Davies, 73, will be hitting the streets again this week to push them over the line.

On Wednesday, March 6, the trio will finally head to 10 Downing Street to present their petition to the government.

“We’ve been fighting for this for three years,” Mr Sullivan said. “It feels good that we’ve got it done, and I can finally get a bit of my own life back.

“It’s been a long fight and it’s lovely to see it coming together at last.”

The three campaigners will be in Methyr on Tuesday, in Pontypool on Wednesday, in Abertillery on Thursday and in Caerphilly on Friday from 10am to 1pm to get the signatures they need.

South Wales Argus:

Ex-miner Emlyn Davies campaigning at Tredegar Market

Mr Sullivan added he was grateful to everyone who had supported their fight.

“We’re allowed to take six people into number 10,” he explained. “But we’re not allowed banners or fancy dress inside the barriers.”

Mr Sullivan will be joined by Gareth and Emlyn Davies, with Neville Warren flying banners outside the gates of Downing Street.

Mike Newtons, Ian Huggan and Charles Chiverton, all representatives of English mining communities will join them to present the petition.

A government spokesman said: “The Mineworkers’ Pensions Scheme is subject to a government guarantee which ensures that a member’s pension, including inflation increases, will always be paid.

"Members have received pensions approximately 33 per cent larger than would have been the case without the guarantee.”

South Wales Argus:

Ex-miner Gareth Davies, 70, campaigning at Tredegar Market