Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has met with a group of former miners fighting for pensions’ justice.
Leanne, along with fellow AMs Bethan Jenkins and Delyth Jewell, visited the men as they prepared to take their fight to Westminster to prevent the UK Government from siphoning further surplus cash from the pension pot belonging to former miners.
After three years of hard work, the ex-miners have just finished collecting their target of 100,000 signatures. They hope they will now be able to change the terms of the pension fund agreed between the National Union of Mineworkers and the UK Government following the privatisation of the coal industry.
In return for acting as guarantor for two pension schemes - the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme and the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme – the UK Government is believed to have skimmed more than £10 billion after the pensions performed better than expected. The campaigner are calling for less money to go the Treasury and more money going into the pockets of former miners.
Ms Wood said: “The campaign by this small band of ex-miners has been inspirational. It has caught the imagination of people across the many towns and villages they have visited over the past three years to collect 100,000 signatures.
“Here is a group of men who are used to solidarity, hard work and grit so it should probably not be too surprising that they have achieved their aim of 100,000 signatures.
“They have justice on their side and I hope that the UK Government will now listen carefully to their reasonable points.”
Leanne added: “This was a campaign that was very close to the heart of my dearly missed colleague Steffan Lewis.
“When Steffan was elected, he made this campaign a key priority and to hear these men tell me the difference Steffan made was heartening. It is another legacy of Steffan’s short but significant life.”
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