Usdaw says hands off our pensions!
Usdaw's Annual Delegate Meeting in Blackpool have pledged their
support for Usdaw member Barbara Bates, who has launched an
to fight against the Tory led Coalition's plan to speed up the
equalisation of the state pension age.
The Government proposal, which is contained in the Pensions Bill
currently going through Parliament, will leave 500,000 women waiting
an extra year before they reach state pension age (SPA) and 33,000
women waiting a full 2 years before they can retire.
The previous Labour Government planned to raise the SPA for women to
65 by 2020, but despite promising otherwise in the Coalition
Agreement, the government now plans to increase the SPA for women to
65 by 2018 and then raise it to 66 for both men and women by 2020.
Barbara's campaign is also backed by several other unions and by
Rachel Reeves MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Pensions.
Speaking at a packed fringe meeting, Barbara, who is 57 and from
County Durham said:- "From the age of 15, I have worked every
day of my life, apart from a few years when I stayed at home to care
for my disabled husband until his death in 2003. Since 1995, I
have thought that I would retire in 2018, when I will be 64 and I
have based all my plans for the future on this.
Last November, I discovered that the Government have moved the
goalposts, so that people like me face waiting an extra two years
before I can retire. I feel robbed, robbed of 2 years of freedom and
robbed of more than £10,000 that I would have received as my state
pension. Reaching retirement feels like a mirage, always on the
horizon but never getting any nearer.
But we don't have to accept this proposal. If you face working
longer, or if you want to support me and other women like me, then
please get angry and make a fuss. Please sign my petition and then
go and protest to your MP. Ask them to oppose the change and to sign
Early Day Motion (EDM) 1402 or EDM 1524 on the pension age for
John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:- "Usdaw accept the
need to equalise pension ages but this broken promise is
unfair, unnecessary and unacceptable and could lead to many women
facing severe financial hardship. Women aged 56 and 57 have already
seen their pension age increase yet now see it slipping even further
into the future with nowhere near enough time to prepare.
This generation of women are already disadvantaged as they have
tended to earn far less during their working careers, were often
prohibited from joining a private pension scheme when they started
work and have had interrupted careers, meaning less chance to build
up a pension outside the state system.
I urge people to support Barbara's campaign to stop these changes
Rachel Reeves MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Pensions said:-
"The government are going back on the promise they only made last
May, leaving women in their 50s very little time to prepare. These
changes won't save the government any money in this Parliament and
disproportionately hit women approaching retirement who have earned
less and taken time out during their working lives to bring up
families. The changes are rushed and unfair and the Government must
Bumper celebrations and special visitors over royal wedding weekend
at St Luke’s Formby
Church in Formby is organising a range of events over the royal
wedding weekend, including welcoming 3 special visitors from Rwanda.
The 4 days from, 29 April 29 to 2 May 2011, have been given the title ‘A
weekend of new beginnings.’ The title reflects the start of
the marriage between William and Kate, the re-opening of the
church’s Lifeboat tea room for the summer season and a special event
that encourages members of the public to play their part in a new
beginning for the people of Shyira in Rwanda.
The celebrations begin on Friday, 29 April 2011, with a traditional family
street party in the grounds of St Luke’s church from 2pm to 4pm to
coincide with the royal wedding. Admission is by ticket only. Also
included is live music by the Formby Mafia. There will also be a
display of wedding photos (old and new) of church members and St
Luke’s School staff in the church.
On Saturday, 30 April 2011, the church will celebrate the seasonal opening
of the Lifeboat tea room, which will be open each Friday, Saturday
and bank holiday from 10am to 4pm until the end of September at St
Luke’s Church meeting room. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, sandwiches,
soup and cakes will all be on offer.
On Monday, 2 May 2011, St Luke’s will welcome three very important visitors
from Rwanda for a special open day focussing on the work of its
charity, the Shyira Trust. St Luke’s has strong links with the
parish of St Mark’s in Shyira and more than £173,000 has been sent
to help reduce poverty by replacing a maternity hospital, renovating
schools, rebuilding homes for child-headed families, sponsoring
children, and much more. The visitors include Bishop Augustin
Ahimana from Kivu Diocese in Rwanda, a midwife whose training was
sponsored by St Luke’s Shyira Trust and a community nurse. The
visitors are coming with funding provided by a grant from Global
Community Links, funded by UKaid from the Department for
International Development and will be telling why achieving the
millennium development goals is important in their community
During the open day from 10am to 4pm, members of the public can speak
to all three visitors and learn about the work being done, view a
special exhibition of photographs and artefacts from Rwanda, learn
about maternal and child health, the coffee project and try tea and
coffee from Rwanda.
Beryl Farrington, who has helped organise the events at St Luke’s
said:- “This is going to be a fantastic weekend for both the
local and wider community of St Luke’s. We hope that the royal
wedding street party and the tea room opening will really bring
local people together. We also hope that the Shyira open day will
give people a chance to learn about the wider community of St Luke’s
which, through our links, now stretches right to Rwanda! We are
delighted to be welcoming the Bishop of Kivu Diocese and medical
staff from Shyira, and seeing the positive results of our strong
For information on the events taking place at St Luke's please call Beryl on:-
01704 870 310.