Women born in the 1950s are victims of injustice, say Unite, GMB and TUC

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The government has still got it wrong over women’s pensions, say unions.

Plans to raise the state pension age to 66 will be delayed by six months from April to October 2020 were criticised by the TUC and Unite, who said the move still still contains ‘very real financial dangers’ for women born in the 1950s.

Unite is concerned about the financial impact for this group of women, many in low-paid and demanding jobs, who will now have to work an extra 18 months for their state pension, instead of the previous proposal of two years.

Assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: ”This announcement must not be allowed to mask the injustice of the government’s plans to create an automatic link to the state pension age and the normal retirement age for women who are members of public sector pension schemes.

”Apart from being unfair and disregarding the nature of the work done, such a link creates a precedent that may well leak into private sector schemes. This would be in the same way that some private sector schemes are being hit with the 15 per cent reduced value of benefits due to the switch from the retail price index (RPI) to the consumer price index (CPI) which was imposed on all public sector schemes.

”There are still not-so-hidden financial dangers for this group of women, thought to number about 330,000, now in their late fifties. Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has given them a crumb of comfort today.“

The pensions bill currently going through parliament proposed that the state pension age for women would reach 65 by November 2018 and rise to 66 for both men and women by April 2020.  Instead the changes announced today will propose that men and women reach 66 by October 2020.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “‘This concession means the government has now accepted that it got the increase in the state pension age for women wrong. But hundreds of thousands of women will still lose out and have every right to be angry.

“Putting up the state pension age doesn’t create a single extra job for older workers, and the worst hit will be those women who can neither work nor claim a pension, and have to rely on our tough and mean benefits system.”

GMB national pensions officer Naomi Cooke said: “Taking the edge off the government’s state pension reforms is precious little comfort to the millions of women whose retirement futures are being blighted by the coalition’s cuts.  Cuts to the state pension triple lock, auto-enrolment provisions and public sector pensions all have a disproportionate impact on women.

“GMB welcomes this relatively minor last minute move but the question that still hasn’t been answered is what possessed David Cameron to think it was ok to suddenly delay someone’s retirement age by two years in the first place?”

 


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