The Free Colliers were founded in 1863 to celebrate the achievements of miners who, in the 18th century, struggled to become free men, able to choose to move from one employer to another. Prior to that, men were basically bound to a specific employer and could not leave and go to work somewhere else.
Their annual march was today, when they walked to the memorial to those killed in the Redding Pit Disaster.
The march is also known as the Pinkie march, as marchers link their pinkies in a gesture of free will.
At the memorial itself, a wreath was laid, a piper played a lament and then the reed band played “Abide With Me”.
These early struggle for workers’ rights paved the way for the world we know today. The tension between workers’ rights and viability of companies will always be a challenging issue, and things may not be going in a good direction just now. It’s good to remember those who helped us get to where we have reached.