Faceless silent demo over women’s pension changes held outside Turner Contemporary

This morning's demonstration over the way the state pension age has been changed Photo Timandra French

Masked protesters have held a silent demo outside Turner Contemporary today (June 1) to highlight what they say was maladministration by the Department of Work and Pensions in the way changes were introduced to raise the state pension.

The demo also marked those women who have died during the campaign to get compensation due to the ‘unfair’ process .

The protest, using plain masks to show the message ‘no face, no voice, no pension’ was organised by the East Kent Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) group.

Photo Timandra French

The group says  women, particularly those born in the 1950s, have been unfairly hit by the government legislation raising the retirement age, they say they did not receive proper notice and many have been left in poverty.

In a March 2015 report on Communication of State Pension age changes, the Work and Pensions Select Committee concluded that “more could and should have been done” to communicate the changes.

Photo Timandra French

Campaign group Backto60  has initiated legal proceedings into the process, which will be heard in the Divisional Court next week.

Backto60 has brought the Judicial Review case, which will examine whether 3.9 million women born in the 1950s were appropriately communicated with regarding changes to the state pension age that result in a later retirement.

Up until 2010 women were eligible for their state pension when they reached the age of 60 but changes have seen this rise with the age at which women qualify for the state pension now 65, rising to 66 in October and  67, for men and women, by 2028.

Photo Timandra French

The government says the aim is to bring the retirement age for men and women in line. Increasing life expectancy means the government needs to make pension payments later in a person’s life.

In December Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said: “With the Government facing increasing financial pressures, it is simply not justified to reverse these changes, especially when we take into account that women who reached State Pension age in 2016 are estimated to receive more State Pension on average over their lifetime than women ever have before.

Photo Timandra French

“We will be making no further changes to the law on this issue. Doing so would mean working-age people, especially younger people, bearing a greater financial burden to support the rising costs of the pensions system.”

However two Private Members Bills have also been presented to Parliament asking for the arrangements to be reviewed and for costings for a compensation scheme to be undertaken.

The Judicial Review will be heard at the Divisional Court in London on June 5-6.

Margate’s Shell Lady also received a make-over for the demonstration with a Waspi dress, umbrella and sign.

Demonstrator Dee Wild discusses the issue in her persistent pensioner blog here

Read here: Judicial Review over change to women’s pension age to open next week


  1. Hang on a minute . . .

    Have I missed something here ?

    I thought women had been long campaigning for equality with men.

    Now they have got it they have decided they don’t like it !

    You just cannot please some people.

    • this is nothing to do with equality, this is theft dressed up as an excuse of equality!! if it had been equality, then why did it not mean an increase for women, and a decrease for men? and so making them both the same mid point, instead men’s retirement also went up!!! look at other European country’s pension ages before assuming fair equality and fair retirement ages.

    • Thats a blinding statement, showing disregard toward the 1950’s women and the realisation that ‘equality ‘ doesn’t necessarily mean placing burdens on womens working or pension rights! Typically,this argument you protest is an example that has lost momentum,because many women affected by sped changes were given little or no time to prepare for retirement, having 6yrs added to their working life! Women don’t react in this way for no good reason, and find that your comment is indicative of the current legislative government who have caused unnecessary suffering regardless of the impact that these changes demonstrate.

      • I was not informed that my retirement age would increase from 65 to 67.

        Nor, more importantly. was I informed that my State Pension would be reduced to less than £100 a week because I had a private pension (that I also paid for) !

    • Hopefully John, I assume by your remarks you have been a supporter of gender equality throughout your life. I bet you were one of the first men to argue for the pay equality we Women born in the fifties never were able to achieve, or access to private pensions that men had before us. We wanted equality and never had it until the Government saw a way of saving money under the guise of this.

  2. Excellent work Waspi women. I hope the JR will finally return some good news on the terrible and harmful way this has been implemented. We have all paid our NI and taxes and the government just continues to steal from us with terrible consequences for some.

    • I agree totally, but the impact is all the greater by not being told about it and then finding out by accident just before reaching 65 (for men). If that had happened to men, there would have been hell to pay!!!

  3. Had the government said to us 1950’s girls to work on 3 more years I would have accepted that. However a further 6 years when I have never claimed unemployment benefit is an absolute disgrace. I am tired now would have liked to care for my grand child but can’t because I still have to work. Give us some compensation for God’s sake.

  4. We want equality but during our working life the 50’s women had no equality. We had on the wholea lower rates of pay to men and because we produced children had to take time off to bring them up. No benefits as there are today. We do it unpaid.
    Therefore, our pension pot was not ‘equal’ to men.
    The 50’s women, some of us worked from a very young age didn’t have the job opportunities as today’s women have had low wages. Earning less than our male counterparts for doing the same job!
    Yes, equality is what we wanted but we didn’t have it at the time. We were told that we would get our pension at 60. Now, we understand that for future generations the gap should be closed and equaled however, written notice to each women (who extensively had a verbal contract with the government) should have been given. Not flippant notices in some newspaper. Which by the way please note that while men sat and read these on a Sunday morning the women were probably cooking or doing household chores! These women didn’t see the notices! Sorry I digress….my point is that if each woman approaching retirement had been notified, in writing, then she/they could have planned their retirement. They, I, we, didn’t get a warning. So we had no time to plan. I had 13 months notice and only because I phone to get a forecast!
    Shocked is an understatement.
    Men went from 65 to 66. A one year jump
    Women have jumped from 60 to 66
    That’s not fair.
    Why couldn’t the increase have been gradually introduced?
    Why weren’t we given notice…in writing? Our pension is not a benefit. It is a right. We worked hard. Looking after homes. Having children and being cooks, cleansers and nurses to all. Life was tough when we were young, post second world war, and this is how we have been repaid.
    We live longer? Some yes, but not all of us. Now we are having to fight for the right to a contract which has been changed and implemented without our knowledge.
    We want equality but we want, as we’ve always wanted, fairness and to be treated with respect. We we’re not lazy. We paid our dues and now we want what is fair.
    I seem to remember men striking in the 60’s and 70’s for fair pay etc., Women on the other hand are expected to put up and shut up! FAIR, I think not.
    Gradually increase the pension age. But the government pensions offices should have let us know in plenty of time that the ‘contract’ changed. A right not a benefit!
    So, all being fair, if I decide to put a 6 year hold on my tax would the government say “yes that’s fine” just pay it when you’re ready?
    They’re wrong they know it but won’t admit it.
    How many billions have been spent and wasted on a Brexit resolution? Why isn’t this government looking after it’s female citizens of the 50’s?
    Rant over now I’ll go and cook Sunday lunch!

  5. I have been working since I was 15. I’m 63 now. I have really bad back problems and. Hips. I have done physical work all of the time. I am now in constant pain every day.. I hope you win the case. I have been following wasps for a while.

  6. When I left school – there was a clear inequality in wages between men and women and this never changed for decades ……,, probably just about the same time that the government equalised and raised our pension age without telling us in 1994 ????
    So we didn’t stand a chance of accumulating any sort of pension equal to our male counterparts ……. we couldn’t even get a mortgage in our own right in the 70’s
    So we were always going to be the poor relation in the pension stakes ????
    I don’t have a problem with equalisation, but all of our disadvantages should have been taken into account when they made this decision, and then not to tell us ……. NO!!!! This is unjust, unfair and downright discriminatory ????????????

  7. Fraud and theft come to mind,why could the government phase it in.Just as they are doing for men increasing it slowly.

  8. I have worked all my life and looked after my family .
    Started at 14 at weekends.
    Did shift work with my husband so we could always
    Have one of us at home .
    Worked in factory cleaning big machinery by stripping
    It down and reassembled it .
    Worked in shoe shop for 15 years climbing ladders ,grabbing shoe boxes.
    On my feet all day and then home to start again .
    Now I’m waiting for a new knee and the other one needs half a knee .
    Problems with my hands .
    I am 62 this year and my body has taken a bashing.
    Now when we need our pension we can’t have it .
    Paid in fo 41 years it’s a disgrace .

    • Exactly the same as me…its no more than legalized theft…the government minister who implemented the changes got a huge lump sum so it’s not about the government not being able to afford it..if they stopped throwing millions away and stopped their ministers stealing from the taxpayers then this would never have needed to be implemented

  9. There is the fact that there are also female Members of Parliament in this age group who have been granted there pension on top of healthy MP’s salary.

    The rich get richer and those without a pension get poorer to the extent that some have had to sell their house to survive!!!

  10. All governments of this country have always treated working classes with contempt they have mostly used us for there own ends, two tier system always will be.

  11. We are being told repeatedly that there more people in work and paying tax yet the people who help make this country what it is have to keep working because we can’t a ford to pay you

  12. I am retiring in July when I will be 65.I have done care work for over 30 years . Won’t get my state pension till May 2020,but my husband who is 6 months older than me got his at 65 and 4 months and I’m having to wait longer for mine, don’t think this fair but I cannot carrying on working as I’m struggling to do this kind work and expected to be retired long ago.

  13. Agree with all said total theft promised security for old age after working 2 jobs most of my life taxed to death had min time to save once changes were brought in had to sell my home unable to make the same income as age related illness take over plus little care available for elderly parents now stepped in to do that and grandchildren need care because parents having to bring in another wage the strain on this age group is enourmous no wonder our death rate was higher last year than it has been in the last 10 years then again if we die sooner we won’t cost the government a penny or be a strain on the N H S it’s just a shame our pension will line government pockets instead of our families swallow that one Anne Widicombe as you already have your pension and a well paid private one and can earn top money on talent shows Justice Please

  14. I agree with John, this increase is nothing to do with equality, all about inequality and theft from 50s women. Government should reconsider the EU 50m pound request for payment re our withdrawal from the EU and refund the 50s women with this money. Midpoint 63 years of age would have been far more agreeable for both sexes. However, Government should still have given 50s women enough notice. I am 64 have sold my house and have lived on a limited amount from my savings. Am I correct in thinking because I have had to retire at 60 am I now going to lose out yet again once my pension does kick in because I havent paid my stamp for these additional years?

  15. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-48531699


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