Sacked miners to get pension payments compensation

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More than 130 men sacked during the miner's strike of 1984-85 have been told they will receive compensatory pension payments, 18 years after they lost their jobs.

The National Union of Mineworkers said they would be paid up to £20,000 by the Government to compensate for years of service lost after they were unfairly dismissed.

About 1,200 mine workers were sacked by the National Coal Board during the dispute, some for serious acts of violence but others for trivial transgressions. Two men were sacked in Scotland for stepping across a white line on a road outside their colliery.

Ian Lavery, national chairman of the miners' union, said 137 of the men had received letters from the Department of Trade and Industry saying they would get compensation. "It is a step in the right direction but we will continue campaigning for all the men to be compensated in full."

Twenty-one men, judged to have committed more serious offences, have had their claims rejected. They will be able to appeal to an independent adjudicator. Most sacked miners are not eligible for the payments because they were re-employed after the dispute.

David Hamilton, MP for Midlothian and one of the organisers of the strike in Scotland, said most of the men had lost their jobs for standing on picket lines. Some had won employment tribunals rulings but had not been re-employed.

"It's not about payments. It's about the vindication of 19 years where people have been singled out, unfairly dismissed and in the true sense of the word victimised. The payments will vary, depending on length of service.''