FORMER Scots miners who transferred pension funds after being made redundant could be sitting on tens of thousands of pounds in unclaimed compensation.

Glasgow and Yorkshire-based solicitors Corries said they had acted for a number of men in the Fife and Dalkeith areas who were badly advised to leave employer-run pension schemes with good benefits.

Bruce Corrie, who specialises in employment law, said miners were particularly badly affected because they were made redundant in the late 1980s at a time when very little training was required to work in financial services.

However, he said the problem was not unique to miners and the firm has acted on behalf of former steel workers who were employed at Ravenscraig in North Lanarkshire.

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"It was quite shocking what happened," he said. "Everything is a lot better these days but at that time there was very little training required to work in financial services. 

"Typically what happened was a miner lost his job and would be persuaded to become a financial advisor and would get a day's training and be sent into the pit village to persuade all their friends to sign up for it.

"Of course they were much younger men then and they weren't thinking ahead to the future.

"When people get made redundant they become distrustful of their employer and, particularly amongst the miners there was a lot of unrest, they just didn't want anything to do with British Coal."

Mr Corrie said a lot of workers' pensions were re-instated following a UK government review in 1994, which forced companies to re-admit former employees into schemes.

"A lot of them were but some weren't and there was variety of reasons for that, they had moved home or they had emigrated or just didn't get the letter. In some cases they weren't even sent the letters."

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One ex miner was awarded more than £80,000 after he transferring his retirement funds out of the Mine Workers Pension Scheme.

The 58-year-old, who lives on the outskirts of Glasgow, worked in the Cardowan and Fife coalfields from the age of 16 to 24. He was among the miners who spent almost a year on strike from March 6 1984 in an attempt to halt colliery closures.

The ex-miner, who did not want to be identified in this article, says he paid £2000, at the very most, into his work pension.

When he left the British Coal Board he said he was persuaded to move his funds to a personal pension plan with National Financial which is now known as Phoenix Life.

Through the years, he forgot about the money "because it was minimal" but around three years ago he contacted the firm to check how much money he had accrued with a view to withdrawing the funds.

"It was almost £9000 so I thought, that's better that I thought it would be so I took it. For me that was it, end of story."

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However, not long after this he noticed an advert in a newspaper, posted by Corries Solicitors who took on his case and he was awarded £64,000.

"If I had stayed in the mine workers' pensions, that's probably the amount I would have got.

"There will be hundreds of ex miners sitting with vast sums which they are unaware of and it's totally wrong.

"There are guys who will have contributed £20-£30,000 and could have a quarter of a million pounds sitting there. I was only in the pits for eight years."