IF people don't have a voice, they continually feel they are remote from decision making, says theatre director Graham McLaren.

He is talking about a miners' strike in 1926 that led Joe Corrie to pen In Time O' Strife, a landmark play documenting the hardship facing the men and their families in a Fife mining community buckling under the strain of a seven month lockout.

He is also referring to the 1984 miners' strike and the situation we find ourselves in today when the working poor are forced to use foodbanks.

"The decision may affect their lives but they have no influence on it democratically, socially or economically," he goes on.

"So this is a play that demonstrates that the people in power have little or no regard to even participate in further engagement with people less fortunate than themselves.

"I don't think you need a lesson in that these days. It feels absolutely that socially and politically we are as unequal a society as we were when Joe Corrie was writing this in 1926.

"We still have foodbanks, and it's a disgrace that we even know what a foodbank is, and it is common parlance that we even know what the working poor is."

Last year the National Theatre of Scotland toured McLaren's adaptation of the Corrie play and it returns to Glasgow in the 30th anniversary year of the 1984 miners' strike.

It has never been more relevant. Corrie wrote the play to raise funds for local soup kitchens. Nearly 90 years on, the plight of the poor is as shameful as ever.

Corrie was described by TS Eliot as the greatest Scottish poet since Robert Burns, but the establishment of the day tried their best to silence him, when the Scottish National Players refused to put In Time O' Strife on in Glasgow.

Back in October 1929, Corrie used the letters pages of the Glasgow Evening News to take on some of his critics, vociferously defending his work.

"I have many more plays to write yet, if I am spared, and I want to make them a credit to Scotland," wrote Corrie in the newspaper on October 19, 1929.

"We will listen very generously and improve our work by it, even though we have to go back to the pits or dole for a time. We will certainly not hurl a volley of unkind and cutting words.

"Nor will we turn up our little noses and say, 'Ah, the public is an ass. Ibsen, Shaw and Chekov failed at the beginning, so cheer up fellow workers, our play must be a great one.'

"No; we will say, 'Well, fellow workers, the public may not be so green as we highbrows think it is; for instance they are still flocking to see Journey's End in their thousands, and are saving their coppers to buy All Quiet on the Western Front."

The critics came back with barbs about his grammar and use of bad language in his work before the play was finally put on at the Empress Playhouse.

"These papers were quite instructive in the debate about whether or not Joe Corrie's work was worthy of a national company," says Graham.

"Joe Corrie is a fascinating character who was a significant figure in that he wrote this play not for fame or fortune, but to raise money for the soup kitchens that were feeding the starving miners and their families.

"Then it became a huge hit, a sensation, and he tried to engage with the theatre establishment, the elite of the day, and they locked him out,.

"They didn't like what he was saying politically and they didn't like how he was socially because he wasn't one of them - he was a miner."

Some of Corrie's poetry has been adapted for songs in McLaren's production and he uses the opportunity to showcase more of Corrie's writing. The play has been received well across the country and even won a standing ovation in Oxford.

"I think in Scotland there's a real sense of awareness of the political landscape which simply wasn't there 12 months ago," says McLaren.

"With that comes a certain degree of frustration: no matter what way people voted in the referendum, I think everyone in this country shares a degree of frustration.

"The only thing that divided us was our method of delivering change."

We can only imagine what Corrie would make of the world we life in today in which free healthcare and education are being eroded.

"We might not have miners, but we have people in call centres, we have people still working on zero hours contracts, which is effectively what these miners were complaining against," says McLaren.

"In some respects it is worse because there isn't a legal or moral standpoint any more because of the social and political landscape we find ourselves in."

l In Time O' Strife, Citizens Theatre, October 14 to 18.

l www.nationaltheatre scotland.com