Women join up in fight for pensions equality

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PORTSMOUTH women hope to have more of a sting by rallying together with campaigners from across the south.

On July 14 three groups of Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) will meet in Southampton city centre to raise awareness of their cause.

The Solent WASPI group, which includes members from Portsmouth, will be joined by Salisbury and Dorset WASPI contingents.

The groups are part of a national network campaigning for fair transitional payments for women born in the 1950s who have had their state pension age raised by as much as six years with little or no notice.

Shelagh Simmons, joint co-ordinator of Solent WASPI, said: 'People should understand this is about basic fairness.

‘In this women’s suffrage centenary year, it’s particularly important to recognise that women still have to fight injustice.

‘Women of our age have battled discrimination and financial disadvantage all our lives so this is one more blow on top of all that.

‘Many women have suffered severe hardship as a result of the way these changes have been introduced.

‘And this isn’t just about women. It’s about men too, and whole families where a woman’s state pension is an important part of household income. So our injustice really is everyone’s injustice.’

Portsmouth South MP and city councillor Stephen Morgan backed the cause. He added: ‘This is a simple question of justice. WASPI women have paid into the system and planned their well-earned retirements, but now find themselves forced back into work at a time when they should be enjoying their later years after decades of working life.

‘It’s great that, once again, women across the country are joining together to fight for what’s rightfully theirs. But, quite frankly, they shouldn’t have to – the Tories need to fix this injustice urgently and stop dodging the issue.

‘Portsmouth’s WASPIs know they have my full support and I’ll continue to use all channels in parliament to keep up the pressure on the government to give women born in the 1950s the dignity and financial security they deserve.’

The groups will be meeting at the West Quay entrance of Above Bar Street in Southampton at midday on Saturday, July 14.