People ask me why I wanted to set up an event to bring the various
campaign groups together and I can only say it came about by pure
I was stood in a field behind my house whilst feeding the sheep at the
rescue I volunteer for, discussing my frustrations with a neighbour about
the factions that have developed across the 1950’s women’s campaign and
the damage that it was doing to our cause. That neighbour happened to own an online conference
company. He kindly offered to give us his support as he despised the way we had been treated.
As I thought about it more and more or I realised that many women, like me, would prefer to see a better way forward than is currently being taken, and with this in mind, I put out feelers for the event which were enthusiastically received and I knew that it was something we should attempt to do.
Many committed group leaders are already trying to work together to move the campaign forward and I felt that that for those amazing, proactive women it must be sometimes like wading through mud. You certainly have to admire their stamina.
Every single woman involved has one main goal, and that is to get Justice for the terrible situation that we have been placed in. Whilst compensation will not mend broken lives or bring back the women who have died through stress, suicide, overwork, and in poverty, it would help those left to move forward in their retirement with less dread for the future, and if nothing else, honour the memory of those women we have lost to this callous misuse of our trust by government.
One of the things that constantly comes up as causing problems, is the disagreement on compensation methods or proposals put forward. Whilst it is important that we are able to voice what would compensate us to some degree for this injustice, it should not have become the cause of division. The onus MUST be on the government to provide a solution to the terrible damage it has inflicted upon us and it should not be
the responsibility of the 1950s women to lay the path before them. It is however, important that we are unified enough off to come together across our various support groups in sufficient numbers as to embarrass the government into providing a fair solution.
The intention of this online event is to discuss simple ways that different groups can find to support the campaign as a whole, and how we can come together ‘regardless of group asks’ to make an effective campaigning mass lobby that will put the pressure on. It will also be good to provide a platform where women across the UK can see their group leaders working cohesively as a team.
This event is not intended to unify groups under any umbrella or take over any groups. instead our hope is that it will boost morale and amplify the call for unity. It will also allow women to keep up-to-date with what is going on on across the groups.
I thank all the ground leaders who have responded positively and hope that this event sets up an example and platform for more to come together going forward. Please remember this one thing UNITY does not have to mean UNIFICATION but unity between all the groups is something that I personally would rejoice in and in that I know I am not alone.
The Event is being held online on Saturday 12th
December at 1pm
We will soon be issuing booking information for you to observe the event.
Elizabeth Latham - 9th july 2020
- Pension Injustice
OK! If i was in that court case on july 21st/22nd and i was a judge summing up this would be my honest opinion as to how we have arrived to this situation. In 2008 the banks suffered a financial crash by allowing banks to mis-sell loans to people who could not afford to pay back. The then government of the time had to then find a solution to bail out the banks and find funds. In 2010 David Cameron the then prime minister said ''he would balance the books''! He declined to reveal how and why! In the tory manifesto of 2010 as regards to state pension age rises it specifically said no changes would be made before 2016 for men and not before 2020 for women. Previous to this the labour government had said any changes to the pension age would not be before 2024/26. In 2011 the government decided they could abolish the compulsory retirement age of 65 and 60. They then decided to put legislation through and accelerate the pension ages in 2011. On doing this they mislead MP's, Peers, Lords, media and press and Jo public about the affect that these changes would make. They gave false information on numbers by saying only 330,000 1950s women would be affected when it was obvious over 4.8m would be affected and more, generations later too. They also gave false accounts of time delay of 18 mnths to 2 years when for most it was 6 yrs or more depending on the date and month you were born, hence penalising our very mothers as to when they gave birth to us. We have also found out that a surplus of the National Insurance Fund has been used in another account to pay off or reduce the national debt, this was confirmed in a freedom of information request by a 1950s woman affected by the state pension age increase of 2011. The HM Treasury confirmed that this was the case in that letter. We have also found out that back in 1983 a number of men who were aged up to and including age 65 were given a top up to their pension in the form of auto credits, this was supposed to be a temporary measure when in fact it lasted till 2018. We have also found out that it was claimed by many MP's and government ministers that a transient payment of £1.1bn was put in place to compensate/help many 1950s women who had been badly affected by these changes, yet on asking who had received them we drew a blank. When many of us who were born in the 1950s left school at age 15, 16, 17 or later depending on whether you attended college/university and worked in jobs very poorly paid, pittance in fact full time wages per month anything from £20 - £28 or a bit more was the going rate. When most of us were working back in the late 60s or early 70s we were not given opportunities to improve our careers, we were considered unequal in the work place, equality didnt exist for most and since it never has. These rules have been badly implemented on a mislead, false, deceit, lies basis so that legislation could be put through simply to balance the books and deny a generation of both women and men of what they were genuinely entitled in later life in retirement. Boris johnson said a few months ago when asked about this, there is no magic money tree, there is no money available to pay out, we cant afford it. Yet when push comes to shove they have actually found billions of pounds to spend on paying EU, HS2, foreign aid, NHS, painting a plane, MP's and Peers pay rises, Project speed and immigrants who come and arrive here. In summing up you cannot blame those who have contributed through their whole working lives whether it be men or women for errors that have been caused by our financial sector, we have all done our bit, we had no choice in paying our contributions out of our wages it was compulsory and even though pittance wages were earned money was still taken out and put into government funds. It has been said that the National Insurance Fund was raped of £271 billion, denying many of pension payouts to which people were genuinely entitled. It was not our fault, we are not responsible for how governments who are inconsiderate, reckless, careless when it comes to balancing the books. You do not force people into sleeping in cars, selling up, use foodbanks in order to survive. This is not what we believed we were having money stopped out of our wages which were hard earned between 35-40 hrs week. You do not deceive yr public, MP's Peers media and press into false reasons about things in order to get legislation through, this is totally irresponsible and totally unacceptable. At the end of the day this has been blatant theft and people born in the 1950s have felt the full force of this and paid the price. Government guilty as charged.
Rose Jeeves - 31st May 2020
I have been quiet on here since lockdown. My husband is in the very high risk group, I’m in the medium risk group. I’ve had weeks of anguish. My husband had the letter telling him to stay in for 12 weeks. I spoke to my work about my risk and shielding my husband - no joy. If I chose to go off work it would be unpaid. I work in a care home. I carried on going into work but worried sick in case we got Covid in the home. I tried to get a letter for myself from Rheumatology, no joy as I’m not on the listed immunosuppressant drugs. Had two phone calls with my GP who couldn’t help or have a letter to say I was at risk. I then spoke to my Union who said as a person shielding I should be furloughed but it was works choice. I wrote to my manager and said how worried I was - there was nowhere else I could stay to keep my husband safe. My managers had a meeting on my behalf and put a proposal to me. I could stop taking staff temperatures (up to 100 people every 4 hours - try and stay 2 metres from someone!). I was given a mask daily, gloves, antibacterial wipes for the desk, phone etc and eventually a Perspex screen for the top of my reception desk. I share my circular desk with 2 other staff - again impossible to be 2 metres apart. If I was happy with all that I would remain working, if not they would support me going off unpaid. I chose to stay working as it felt much safer - however I said if we got Covid in the Home, I would remove myself. Then a week last Tuesday I got the dreaded call. We had Covid in the Home. So two weeks ago I removed myself from work, unpaid. I asked if I could take annual leave - which was granted. I had a further chat with both the union and my GP. My GP suggested I speak to my husbands Haematologist and ask for a letter to say I’m shielding. I sent a further email to my manager about my worry about being unpaid and what the GP had said. A further meeting on my behalf took place. I’m delighted and relieved to say that I am now working from home - fully paid, which will be reviewed accordingly. This awful disease has affected everyone in some way. The scary part about the fact it ended up in our Home was that it was staff - 3 at the same time that got it - how??? Does that mean there was a silent carrier? Who knows - it’s indiscriminate. I fully admire all my lovely colleagues that continue to do a brilliant job. We had all the PPE from the outset, and stringent hygiene, cleansing methods put in place (cleanliness was second to none in the first place - our Home is superb). My manager is the best, always supportive and caring. They didn’t have to pay me if I chose to go off work as I don’t fit the criteria for furlough.
I can now work from home without the added stress of worrying about either getting Covid or taking it home. We have online groceries and I haven’t been near a shop since March.
Now to my point - none of the above would have been necessary if I’d retired when I should have been able to, two years ago! I would willingly give my job up for an out of work youngster. I can’t sleep, my all over pain is far worse than it ever was. I’d absolutely love to retire today! So no I definitely haven’t given up on the campaign, and when this all calms down I will be back on the campaign with renewed vigour. I do feel though, that regardless of which party you vote for/is in power, would have had the same horrendous problems to deal with. So many thousands of people have died, so many people will lose their jobs because of Covid. No-one has any control of this world wide Pandemic so it’s not anyone’s fault so I can’t be party to any blame that is levelled at anyone on how it’s been dealt with. No-one would choose to be having to deal with this. It’s a whole separate issue and the country needs to heal a lot more before we resume “normal” service. On a good note - so far the weather has been the kindest of all by being warm and sunny almost the whole time this has been going on. Imagine the wider impact to mental health if it was cold and wet every day!
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