Waspi women rally to compensation fight. ‘20,000 a year die with no State Pension!’

State pension: Expert reveals options for WASPI women

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The Women Against State Pension Injustice (Waspi) Silent Rally will be held at the Emmeline Pankhurst statue in Saint Peter’s Square, Manchester, on Monday 4 October, between 11am and 2pm. Campaigners hope the white masks will make a dramatic scene, and boost their fight for compensation.

Around 3.8 million women born in the 1950s were hit by moves to increase their State Pension age to 65 and then 66, to bring it into line with men.

Many have faced tremendous hardship because they were too ill to carry on working until age 66.

Others struggled to find jobs due to ageism in the workplace.

In July, the Waspi campaign received a massive boost when the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman ruled that the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) should have given them more notice of moves to raise their state retirement age.

The ombudsman said they suffered “maladministration” because the DWP should have informed affected women of changes in December 2006, but delayed until April 2009.

The Ombudsman has no power to refund lost pensions or pay damages, but it can recommend the Government gives the women compensation.

The Waspi rally will see masked women standing in silence by the statue of famous suffragette campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst, on what is the second day of the Conservative Party Conference 2021.

They will also pay tribute to the many thousands of 1950s women who have died before reaching their new State Pension age.

Rally organiser Jane Morwood, from Chorley WASPI, said campaigners want to remind the Government that the ombudsman’s ruling of maladministration cannot be ignored.

Morwood said the lack of proper notice that women’s pension age would rise was “catastrophic” for many.

“Some had to sell their homes, others continued working whilst physically or mentally challenged or had to break their promises to look after grandchildren or elderly relatives.”

Morwood added: “We are calling on the government to provide fair and fast compensation for the injustice these women have suffered.”

Linda Wyatt of the Modern Day Suffragettes group will tell the rally that 1950s women die before reaching their state pension age every single day.

“That is over 20,000 women every year. Many of them faced misery, poverty, hardship and anger before they died.”

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Wyatt will say they have been treated with contempt and ignored by governments who refused to acknowledge them. “We will not forget these women. We will continue to be their voice in our campaign for justice.” 

The rally will include a Remembrance Ceremony including a moment of silence at 12.00pm. Waspi members will place a coffin at the foot of the statue and lay a purple wreath on it.

Women will hold up names and photographs of loved ones who passed away before reaching their new pension age.

At 12.05pm, Mistress of Ceremony Elizabeth Stanley of Stroud WASPI and Linda Wyatt from Modern Day Suffragettes will address the rally.

They will be followed by speeches from Andrew Gwynne MP and Peter Aldous MP, Labour and Conservative Co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Pension Inequality.

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