A group of workers is sticking two fingers up at Theresa May this Christmas [VIDEO]

A heroic group of workers is sticking two fingers up at Theresa May and the Conservative government this Christmas. The UK Miners Pension Scheme Association (UMPSA), made up of former miners, has released a charity Christmas single to raise money for food banks. And the miners are also taking on the government over another scandal: the theft of their pensions.

Food bank Britain

In the UK, over 1.1 million three-day food supplies are given out by food banks every year. This figure is not the number of people using them; that figure is far higher. The Trussell Trust estimates that, in 2015, over 400,000 children alone used food bank supplies. Also, most people have at least two food bank referrals a year – and this is just Trussell Trust users. To feed their children, around 20% of parents say they skip a meal. The situation for families in the UK is truly becoming dire.

The Chief Executive of The Trussell Trust David McAuley has called on the government to act. But action will not be quick to materialise. As The Canary previously reported, child poverty in England has spiralled out of control. 250,000 more children now live in low-income families than a year ago. And the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says child poverty is only likely to get worse.

Enter the miners

This is why the miners have decided to step in. Peter Stefanovic, a lawyer and high-profile campaigner, has worked on the single with the UMPSA. The miners’ Christmas song is written by Joe Solo and is called Merry Christmas from Hatfield Main. Stefanovic told The Canary:

The miners are back and this charity Christmas single is just the beginning. Despite Tory lies and spin the people stood with the miners throughout their epic struggle of 1984-85. This single is their way of repaying some of that kindness. Every penny raised will go to help communities and people struggling under extreme right wing Tory austerity and benefit cuts.

The theme of the song is Christmas at Hatfield’s main colliery during the 1984 miners’ strike. It recounts how people came together to give the miners, by that time destitute and without food, a Christmas to remember. And the miners’ memories of that awful time have inspired them to help families in need, over thirty years later. But they are currently having their own battle with the government. A fight which they also hope to raise awareness of with the single.

Grand theft fossil

As The Canary previously reported, the miners took well-documented industrial action against the Conservative government in 1984/5. But how the miners’ pension scheme has been run by the Treasury is less well-known. Or most notably, the fact that successive governments have funnelled money, to the tune of £8bn, out of the scheme, while leaving many miners destitute.

Read on...

In 2003, a miner’s pension was worth around £41.50 a week, though some older men got as little as £10 a week. In contrast, the assets of the two funds at the time were around £20bn. But since 1994 the government has taken half of any extra cash that the miners’ pensions generated. This meant by 2008, the government had made over £3.5bn out of the pensions scheme. And by June this year, the Treasury had made £8bn (pdf) from the miners.

So how much have successive governments had to contribute into the miners’ pensions scheme, in order to take out £8bn? The answer: absolutely nothing.

Taking on the Conservative government at Christmas

The miners aren’t happy with the Tories. Not only have they ripped off the miners’ pension scheme, but they are plunging millions of people into poverty. So just as they fought back in 1984-85 against the Conservative government, they’re fighting back again. And if you do one thing this Christmas, show the miners and those forced to use food banks because of this government your solidarity. Buy Merry Christmas From Hatfield Main.

Watch the full video:

Get Involved!

– Download the single and read the story behind it.

Follow the UMPSA, sign the petition to support the miners, and read more about the pensions.

– Support your local food bank.

Featured image via screengrab

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed