STUC backs WASPI campaign against pension cuts for millions of women

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden

#stuc2017 The STUC has backed a campaign against Government pension cuts that have left millions of women’s retirement plans in chaos.

It will demand the government provides a full package of transitional arrangements for all women born on or after 6th April 1951 who have ‘unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age.’

Moving the UNISON motion, Kate Ramsden praised the work of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign.

Kate said: “The 1995 Tory Government’s Pension Act included plans to increase women’s SPA (State Pension Age) to 65, the same as men’s. The WASPI campaign agrees with equalisation, but does not agree with the unfair way the changes were implemented – with little or no personal notice and no time to make alternative plans. Retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences.

“There are 2.6 million affected by the lack of notice of the 1995 and 2011 Pensions Acts.

“And here’s the best bit. Not all of them even know it’s happened. There are women who still have that shock to come. How many women in this hall have had any notice or have checked their entitlement.

“Successive governments have bungled the fundamental duty to tell women of these major changes to when they can expect their state pension.”

Kate reported that in Parliament it was stated by the Work and Pensions committee that thousands of women born in the 1950s are effectively victims of government “mis-selling” over controversial changes to the state pension age.

She said: “If the banks have to pay for PPI then surely the government has to recompense the women they have misled

“As 1950s women retire hundreds of thousands are suffering financial hardship. These are women with no other source of income because remember, until the 1990s many women weren’t allowed to join company or industry pension schemes, and many are carers or in poor health.

“Older women are having to sell their homes, go without essentials and rely on their own elderly parents because of the unfair way changes to the state pension age have been made.”

“The aim of the WASPI campaign and this motion is to achieve fair transitional arrangements for all women born in the 1950’s affected by the changes to the state pension law. We do not ask for the pension age to revert back to age 60.

“We are looking for a ‘bridging’ pension to provide an income until State Pension Age – not means-tested – and with compensation for losses for those women who have already reached their SPA.”

Kate called on unions to support the WASPI campaign: “If there ever was a time when women needed to help other women, waiting up to six extra years for a pension, it is now. If there were ever a time when the trade union movement had to step up to the plate it is now. WASPI have achieved much with trade union support they can achieve much more. We can achieve justice.”

(NEC member Jane Carolan was due to deliver this speech at her last STUC Congress but was unable to do so due to another engagement. Our best wishes go to Jane who has been such an important figure in STUC Congresses over the years.)
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