At a packed meeting of almost 100 women in Ystrad Mynach, which was organised by Wayne David MP, there were calls for a determined campaign against the injustice done to women born in the 1950s affected by changes to the state pension laws in 2011. The Government are raising the state retirement age for women from 60 to 65/66.
Wayne David opened the meeting by reminding the audience that the former Tory-led Coalition Government implemented changes to the pension, as it affected women, to achieve equalisation much faster than was initially proposed. This has not given women time to make alternative work arrangements and has meant a large number of women in the Caerphilly constituency having to change their retirement plans or face the loss of thousands of pounds from their pensions.
Wayne David said, “The huge turnout for this meeting shows the strength of feeling amongst women over this injustice and the failure of the UK Tory Government to take any measure to address this. I give my whole hearted commitment to continue supporting the cause of those women who have been adversely affected by these changes”.
Hefin David AM pledged to continue raising this matter in the National Assembly for Wales, so that pressure can be put on the Conservative Government in Westminster.
The recently elected Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour, and tireless campaigner on this issue, Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris, explained the position of the Labour Party to take measures to redress the injustice. She also detailed the campaign by the All Party Parliamentary Group on State Pension inequality for women in Westminster, and outlined the problems when faced with an uncaring and intransigent UK Government who will simply not allow time in Parliament for a binding decision, and refuse to take any action themselves.
Finally, South East Wales WASPI co-ordinator Sue Jarman from Caerphilly, gave an insight into the local campaign activity.
During a lively question and answer session the women were given details of the conclusions of a wide-scale consultation on the inequality issue, which resulted in proposals to allow women to retire earlier by guaranteeing a non-means tested transitional payment. There was a strong feeling from the meeting for women to unite behind proposals which would give relief from the injustice.
Speaking after the event Carolyn Harris said, “I am grateful to Wayne David MP for giving me the chance to speak to his Caerphilly constituents on the campaign against these unjust changes. It was one of many packed meetings I have attended around Wales and it was heartening to see the level of determination of these women to address this injustice.”