Grassroots trade unionists fund BackTo60 films to boost pensions campaign

A new film highlighting the triple whammy facing 3.8 million 1950s-born women seeking the full restitution of their pensions from the age of 60 has been launched with the help of grassroots trade unionists.

Two active trade union grassroots campaigners from the country’s biggest unions, UNISON and Unite, raised more than £3,400 towards a £10,000 crowdfunding campaign by BackTo60 aimed at producing two films this month.

 BackTo60 is returning to the Court of Appeal on July 21 to try and overturn a ruling last year by the High Court which rejected their case for the restitution of their pensions and compensation. All the women were hit by the raising of the pension age from 60 to 66 and many were not informed of the changes by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The two campaigners, both women’s officers, Mac Hawkins from the Caerphilly branch of UNISON, and Louise Matthews, from Unite’s Southampton branch, launched vigorous campaigns locally to raise the money. Mac Hawkins received support from the Wales region of UNISON and Louise Matthews from Unite’s Equality Team and Unite Companions.

UNISON last year put its weight behind the campaign for full restitution of the state pension to 3.8 million women born in the 1950s.

The film highlights the hardship facing women, who are hit by poverty caused by austerity, the pension delay and the effect of the coronavirus on top of ill health. Many of the women who donated to the crowdfunder are featured in pictures at the beginning of the film.

But it is also a film of hope highlighting a campaign to get the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to investigate the women’s case. The UK signed up to the convention under Margaret Thatcher, but successive governments have never incorporated it into UK law.

Professor Jackie Jones, former Labour MEP for Wales, points out on the film that CEDAW may well launch an inquiry into how badly the UK treated 50s women, shaming the country internationally.

Dr Bharat Pankhania, Senior Clinical Lecturer at University of Exeter Medical School, warns in the film that those who are over 60 are at special risk from Covid-19 despite the government saying it is the over 70s who should be shielded or meet very few people.

The film also reveals the fact that between 1983 and 2018 some 4.6 million men over 60 got auto credits paid by the state towards their pensions to get them off the dole figures. Women born in the early 1950s were supposed to get them from 2010 to 2018 but this was cancelled in 2009 after the financial crisis.

This issue could be raised by Michael Mansfield, the human rights lawyer, who is acting for the 50s women, at next month’s appeal. The DWP maintained in the judicial review that the rise in the pension age for women was an equality measure without disclosing that many men over 60 had their national insurance paid by the state.

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10 thoughts on “Grassroots trade unionists fund BackTo60 films to boost pensions campaign

  1. There is going to be high unemployment give the young with families our jobs . Give us our Pension do not pay unemployment Too many of us with failing health struggling to work

    1. Absolutely- get the fit/able young unemployed off the streets and into the work force – don’t want to work ? No dole then. Give us our pensions

  2. Thank you Unions for doing the right thing in supporting 1950 women. We have worked hard all our working lives which were definitely not on an equal footing with men! At this time, particularly with Covid 19,we should have our pensions and be able to stay safe.

    1. If selected banks were the recipients of state funding in 2009 to make them whole after their own reckless trading practices caused the whole banking system to be near collapse (24 hours from complete seizure, in fact), then the banks themselves are liable and the women who had their pensions stolen in order to make the banks financially whole should sue banks directly to claim the restoration of their pensions plus exemplary damages to make all of them and their families financially whole just as the banks were made financially whole post-Lehmann Bros. collapse in October 2008 which led to the (very) near collapse of all US, UK and European banks.

  3. As a woman of 63 I should be still working but ill health prevents that, I am lucky to have a husband that supports me i can’t Imagine what my life would be like if I had to support myself I have worked since 16 paid 38 years tax & NI as well as bringing up two tax paying sons, I should have my pension now.

  4. Can’t they see how much we can do when we reach 60 and not have to go to work. We are making way for younger people to work and pay taxes, we can help out with childcare releasing our family to work and pay taxes, we can help with elderly parents to keep their independence longer and not be placed in homes. We would keep our dignity and not made to feel failures when we can’t keep up with the pace of technology or being told “isn’t it time you retired” let someone your job. If we do a physical job how can we keep up, truth is we can’t !!!

  5. I have worked since 16 years of age unfortunately had to finish work at the age of 53 due to ill health..I am now 63…at the time I finished I thought I would be ok thinking I would receive my state pension at 60 having received no letter or news of any changes until a friend told me in my late 50’s..if it was not for my husband supporting me I would dread to think the outcome of my life … I pad in 36 years of tax and ni…I would like wot I was promised when starting work my pension now as relying on my husband has taken away my self esteem and dignity … I would like to thank waspi and back to 60 David Hencke and everyone who is fighting hard for us all

  6. If they changed it to 60 it would help most woman over 60 working I’m 61 and still do the same job for 28 yrs ..I would love to retire im so hoping for a good result jh

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