WASPI Workers Lobby Parliament on International Women’s Day

Waspi women at Parliament

WASPI, the Women Against State Pension Inequality, held a national demonstration at Westminster opposite the Houses of Parliament on March 8, International Women’s Day, which was also Budget Day. Groups and individual supporters from all over the country attended. Many wore black with a sash and a WASPI T-shirt.

The changes to the state pension affect some women born in the 1950s as part of the move to equalise pension ages for men and women, not to 60 but to 65. However, many were not warned that it would effect them, so were left worse off and with little time to prepare for it, say the WASPI campaigners. The changes are a violation of the right to a decent pension in retirement for all women, as well as being a component part of the attack on the pension rights of all working people.

Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement that the changes are a “betrayal of tens of thousands of women who had planned for their retirement based on the 1995 legislation”. See the full statement below.

On the previous day, March 7, Chi Onwurah, the shadow minister for industrial strategy, presented a petition to parliament from the WASPI women of Newcastle, also signed by many men, urging the government to think again on the changes which are affecting women financially. She highlighted how these changes disproportionately affect working-class women of that generation, who are more likely to have started work at 15, more likely to be in manual trades, which take a greater toll on the body as it ages, more likely to die younger and less likely to have private pensions. She said, “There are many such women in Newcastle and across the country who wish to highlight the hardship, stress and worry they face as a consequence.” See the full text of the petition below.

It should also be noted that the Pensions Act 2014 denies pension increases to anyone who decides for whatever reason to retire to a country not approved by the government. Countries without such approval include most Commonwealth countries, where the majority of emigrants choose to live to join family already there or for health reasons.

Commenting on the operation of the Pensions Acts, Dave Prentis, Unison’s general secretary said: “No-one should have lost out financially because of changes they weren’t told about. The government should stop looking the other way and come up with a plan that compensates the millions of women hit by the move. Women who’ve retired or who are nearing retirement shouldn’t be experiencing financial hardship through no fault of their own. Had ministers been more on the ball at the time, the women could have put aside extra money to see them through into their old age. International Women’s Day is the perfect opportunity for the government to put right this historic pensions wrong.”

(WASPI, LabourList)

“A betrayal of tens of thousands of women” – Corbyn’s message to WASPI protesters

This is Jeremy Corbyn’s full statement to the WASPI women campaigning on International Women’s Day.

My best wishes and International Women’s Day greetings to everyone supporting today’s WASPI lobby.

You are highlighting a grave injustice. The Coalition Government’s decision to move the goalposts, by bringing the equalisation of the state pension age forward by a further two years to 2018, was plain wrong.

It was a betrayal of tens of thousands of women who had planned for their retirement based on the 1995 legislation.

It was justified by claims Britain needed a dose of austerity – yet at the same time tax cuts worth billions have been given to big companies and the very wealthy.

Today, we can expect the Chancellor to boast that the economy is doing better than expected. But will he do anything to right this wrong? I very much doubt it.

Labour is already committed to extending Pension Credit to help those worst hit by this callous change.

We are also developing solutions for those affected who would not be entitled to Pension Credit. And we will continue to consult with WASPI and others on this as part of our planning for government.

I am sorry I cannot join you today. I will be in the Chamber of the House of Commons for the Budget statement, ready to respond.

My speech will challenge the Government’s policy of endless austerity for the many, alongside generous tax giveaways for their wealthy and privileged friends.

My thoughts are with you today. I congratulate you on your stand and look forward to working with you to achieve justice.

Best wishes

Jeremy Corbyn

Leader of the Labour Party

Petition – Implementation of the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts

The petition of residents of Newcastle Upon Tyne Central,

Declares that as a result of the way in which the 1995 Pension Act and the 2011 Pension Act were implemented, women born in the 1950s (on or after 6 April 1951) have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age;

further that hundreds of thousands of women have had significant changes imposed on them with little or no personal notice;

further that implementation took place faster than promised;

further that this gave no time to make alternative pension plans;

and further that retirement plans have been shattered with devastating consequences.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to make fair transitional arrangements for all women born in the 1950s (on or after 6 April 1951) who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age.

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International Women’s Day 2017

Women at the Forefront of the Fight for the
Rights of All and to Safeguard the Future of Society

International Women’s Day 2017 was marked by women throughout the world fighting to safeguard and guarantee the rights of all and to build a new society based on placing the human being at the centre of all considerations. Women around the world are taking a stand to affirm their rights and are taking their place at the front and centre of the struggle against imperialism, war, oppression and exploitation, as a necessary condition for the establishment of the New. As a consequence, women are at the forefront in the struggle for democratic renewal where the rights of all are recognised simply by virtue that all are human, and where the only guarantee of establishing women’s dignity, security and future lies in taking up the fight for the rights of all.

Whilst the society is attempting to destroy all that has been established in terms of social programmes and the protection of basic human rights, women are playing a crucial role in fighting this anti-social agenda and are establishing the conditions for them to take their place in all spheres of society. It is becoming clear that women are very much doing their own thinking and are intent on becoming the decision-makers. In the areas such as health, education, and the anti-war movement, women are becoming more political and are exposing the status quo and fighting, not just against the dismantling of the NHS or the privatisation of education, but for a vision of a new society, one which demands a change in the direction of the whole society, and where they have a decisive say in the running of society.

At this point, with the society in the hands of the most backward elements, and the intensification of the attacks against women in all spheres, and indeed, against the whole of society, it is all the more important that we affirm the role and the stands that women are heroically taking today in Britain and around the world.

Women as a collective are a force in society who are taking up and leading the fight to defend the rights of all. Women lead the fight to defend the NHS, women are at the forefront of the anti-war movement and in fighting for an anti-war government, and women are demanding that social programmes be defended and placed centre stage. Women are showing what it means to be political by being at the forefront of the various struggles being waged. Women are at the forefront and the centre in all aspects, and women are taking their place as second to none.

Women are at the forefront of fighting the ever greater privatisation and the attempts to implement stringent austerity programmes. So whilst women bear the brunt of these programmes, they are also the ones who are fighting for a change in the direction of society to stop these programmes in their tracks and to organise for an alternative. Whilst more women are working part-time, and jobs held by women are more likely to be paid less than the minimum wage, whilst the cost of renting and mortgages have gone up from between 20% and 30% in the last three years in Britain, resulting in a marked increase in homelessness and poverty amongst women, it is also a feature of the growing consciousness of women throughout the society that this is not acceptable in a modern society, that they must demand their say and their place at the table of decision-making. They are coming to the conclusion that a better world is possible. At the same time, they are becoming ever more conscious that as a vital and pressing step to achieve this better world, they must also be at the forefront of the struggle for empowerment. How to hold the government and the powers-that-be to account is demanding new forms, and women are putting this development on the agenda, as the people’s movements strive to remove the blocks to the progress of society which the ruling elite is placing in the way of women in common with the working class and people’s movement as a whole.

Women are fighting for a just society and in all areas they are taking a just stand. Women are showing what their right to be actually is, and are showing that it is consistent with opening the door to progress, to a new society. They are declaring that once the rights of women are guaranteed, only then it will be possible to celebrate the emancipation of the whole of humanity!

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Red Funnel for Sale

Image result for Red funnel images

Red Funnel is for sale for a reported £250 million, nine years after it was sold for £200 million.

The current ferry company’s owner is an infrastructure investment arm of the Prudential. Infracapital has been owner of Red Funnel for nine years.

Australian investment bank that deals in venture capital, Macquarie, which owned Wightlink before Balfour Beatty and sold it two years ago, is to handle the deal.

Prudential bought Red Funnel from the company’s management team and the HBOS bank who had paid £100 million.

It had previously been sold by Associated British Ports to JP Morgan for £71 million in 2000.

The company is presently involved in a planning argument over its East Cowes terminal.

The private ferry companies servicing the Isle of Wight since passing out of public ownership have made huge profit out of the routes. When Macquarie owned Wightlink they set up a huge debt to itself and maintains control over Wightlink finance in cahoots with Balfour Beatty. They have persisted in taking more out of the local economy than has ever been put in. Australians call Macquarie the “Vampire Kangaroo”, as they suck the blood out of companies by claiming most out of their added value.

The ferry companies are also one of the largest takers out of the tourist economy. The cost to the local economy because of the price for visitors and the knock-on effect for local small businesses is very high indeed.

Part of the problem is the restricted claim on the product both socially and the workers who work for them and crew the ships. Workers have had their jobs sacrificed and because of minimum staff, the service as well as safety, has been compromised. It has proven that labour is not a “cost” but a source of added value and has the right to claim against the product by their wages and pensions.

Since the phenomenal pricing and cut backs in timetables their have been demands for a return to public ownership either through Government or Local Authority. Recently there have been calls for ownership through other investments.

The Rights of freedom of movement and investment in connectivity to the mainland is widely debated these days and an issue that must be resolved in favour of local residents in particular.

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UNISON South East members join the march for our NHS

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NHS in Crisis – How do we sustain its future?
(Free lunch – vegetarian option included)
10.30 – 4PM
Guest Speakers include:

Teresa MacKay, SERTUC Vice President

Eddie Saville, Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association General Secretary

John Lister, London Health Emergency Director

Matthew Egan, UNISON Social Care Officer

Benedicta Lashley, Unite Health Activist

Richard Bourne

Louise Irvine GP, Chair of Health Campaigns Together and Secretary of Unite Doctors’ Branch

Conference Workshops:
STPs – what do they mean for our NHS?

How do we campaign in our communities?

Conference Stalls
Britain at Work
Ealing Save Our NHS
**Organisations/campaigns wanting FREE Conference Stall please make contact

Please Register
020 7467 1220


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RMT confirms new strikes on Southern Rail

28 February 2017

RMT Press Office:

RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that guards and drivers on Southern Rail will strike again on the 13th March in the on-going disputes over the safety impact of the extension of Driver Only Operation and the removal of guards from services. Members will strike in the two separate guards and drivers disputes from between 0001 hrs and 2359 hrs on Monday 13th March.

The announcement comes after an offer of talks by RMT was snubbed by GTR despite the company being fully aware that the dispute was due to be discussed by RMT’s executive today.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“The abject failure by Southern Rail to meet with us, to clarify their exact position on the second safety-critical member of staff and to take the safety issues seriously has left us with no option but to confirm further action. These disputes could have been settled if Southern/GTR had sat down and listened to our case and given the guarantee of a second-safety critical member of staff on their trains.

“We now have the best part of two weeks before the next phase of action for the company to take the issues at the core of this dispute seriously, get round the table with the union and negotiate a settlement.

“It is now down to Southern/GTR to face up to their responsibilities and engage in genuine and serious talks that address the fundamental issue of rail safety on their services. RMT expects the company to take up that offer from the union as a matter of urgency.”

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An Invitation to the Birmingham Political Forum on the Future of Society

An Invitation to the Birmingham Political Forum on the Future of Society

Saturday, March 25, 2017
11:00 am (registration) – 4:00 pm
To participate, contact RTUC

Venue Birmingham

The times are crying out for the working class and people to take control of the future of society. This Political Forum in the Midlands is one of a number to take place in the coming months in cities and regions throughout Britain which will discuss this issue and what is necessary to achieve this.

RCPB(ML) invites all democratic forces and working people of all nationalities and from all walks of life, especially young people and those involved in the struggle for a change in direction of society, to participate and contribute to the discussion. Bring your views, your questions, your concerns and energise the discussion. Present your vision of a better future, a new direction.

The workers’ and people’s movements are affirming that the problems facing society, including the danger of war, the destruction of the manufacturing base, and the trampling on the rights of all human beings, demand resolution and that working people – youth, women, workers, the people as a whole – are the force that can bring about change.

Let us work out together how to realise a modern society and take control of the future, in a situation where what is absent today is the ability, the power, of the working class and people to take control of their lives and be the decision-makers.   Let us together discuss the concrete work and practical politics required to ensure the success of the pro-social movements of the people and remove the blocks to the progress of society.

Programme for the day:

  • Claims on society
    Presentations and discussion on safeguarding the future of the NHS and other social programmes
  • Building of the workers’ movement
    Presentation and discussion on the need for the workers’ movement to develop its own programme
  • Democratic renewal
    Presentation and discussion on decision-making power and what kind of party

Together let us chart a new path!

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