More than 20,000 women in district hit by pension changes
An action group chained themselves to railings in a protest against changes to the state pension which will leave women thousands of pounds worse off.
Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) staged a Suffragettes-style demonstration in the spirit of protests to get women the vote in the early 20th century.
The protest outside the former Pontefract Magistrates’ Court was held to highlight the hardship caused by increasing the state pension age for women from 60 to 66.
The group is not opposed to raising the retirement age, but says the changes were made unfairly and gave women insufficient notice that they would have to wait six years longer for their pensions.
Castleford and Yorkshire WASPI’s Sheila Clark said women born in the 1950s would lose around £40,000 they would have received if they were allowed to retire at 60.
Mrs Clark, 62, said: “More than 20,000 women in the Wakefield district are affected.
“We chained ourselves to the railings to say that our great grandmothers fought against injustice for women in the early 1900s and more than 100 years later, we are still fighting injustice.”
Mrs Clark said many women were not notified of the changes to their pensions in time to plan for having to work longer.
She said: “I was told just 23 months before I turned 60.
“Some ladies are really struggling and are having to sell their houses to live.
“They are having to go back to work but it is difficult getting into employment.”
WASPI is calling for a new transitional pension to compensate women for financial losses.
On Wednesday, WASPI members attended a Wakefield Council meeting where a motion of support was tabled.
They have also met Hemsworth Labour MP Jon Trickett.
Mr Trickett said: “The government’s plans have put thousands of women, anticipating retirement at 60, in financial jeopardy and feeling extremely worried about their futures.
“I voted against the proposals in parliament and will continue to support the work of the WASPI group.”