The ruling Labour group on Swansea Council has successfully passed a motion to support Pension Justice for Swansea Women, part of a national campaign who have taken the UK Government to the High Court.
The Pension Justice for Swansea Women are fighting discriminatory state pension rule changes affecting 3.8 million women across the U.K – 15,000 of which are from Swansea.
The Swansea women, some of who held a demonstration outside Swansea’s Guildhall, are waiting to hear the High Court’s ruling following the hearing earlier in June.
The motion was brought by Swansea Council Member Champion for Women, Cllr Louise Gibbard, who noted that many of the opposition members – Conservatives, LibDems and Independents – left the meeting before the motion was voted on.
“We are still waiting for that judgement, but whatever the outcome we can send a strong message of solidarity and urge the government to do what is right. It can be summed up in 6 words – they paid in, you pay out,” said Cllr Gibbard.
“I was very pleased to move this motion in support of the 15,000 Swansea women who have been treated appallingly, first of all by the Tory Government of 1995 who changed the law to equalise men and women’s state pension age in stages to 65 between 2010 and 2020 and then by the Coalition government who sped this up in 2011.
“And if that’s not bad enough – that these women who worked all their lives, paid in, often in poorly paid and difficult jobs, waiting to turn 60 for a well-earned retirement weren’t going to get it as expected – but the government neglected to tell the vast majority of them that this was the case.”
Cllr Gibbard insisted that the women affected have worked all their lives, paid in and deserve to get their pay out.
“Surely it’s a simple matter of honouring a contract. They planned for their retirements. Some already left jobs and careers, only to discover that they would not receive their pensions for six years,” she added.
“They’ve been forced to rely on savings, benefits or look for work which is hard for women in their 60s at the best of times let alone in the current economic climate. Some have had to sell their homes, many have been left destitute.
“By passing this motion we can say that we are not ignoring them.”
Janet Fisk of Pension Justice for Swansea Women, who was at the demonstration outside the Guildhall, said: “Political support is very important to our campaign, and the more support we get whether that is Swansea Council or the Welsh Government puts pressure on the Westminster Government.
“We are very grateful for Council leader Rob Stewart’s continued support in fighting our corner as well as Cllr Gibbard and the rest of the council for their support.”
CAPTION: Representatives of Pension Justice for Swansea Women with Swansea Labour councillors outside Swansea Guildhall