‘Mrs May, you’ve got to pay’: Waspi women march through Glasgow to protest pension injustice

Caitlin Logan

Waspi campaigners from around Scotland demonstrated in Glasgow for International Women’s Day

TO MARK International Women’s Day, campaigners and supporters of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign marched through Glasgow city centre this Thursday 8 March.

The campaign seeks to redress the financial disadvantage faced by 1950s women resulting from a lack of suitable notice and information ahead of changes to the state pension age and poor handling of the policy change.

Culminating at George Square, the march included campaigners from the Waspi groups in Glasgow and Lanarkshire, Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway and Aberdeen.

At 6pm on Thursday, the SSE Hydro will light up purple in support of the campaign, and the Waspi women will stand at the venue wearing white masks to symbolise their perceived status as “invisible women”.

Glasgow and Lanarkshire Waspi group coordinator Ann Potter told CommonSpace: “We’re doing this today because it’s International Women’s Day today, and because we are part of the Waspi campaign which means that we have been unfairly treated by previous governments and the current government in not getting our pension at age 60.

“We’re trying to get everybody to show support for Waspi, and we’re keen it should be cross-party support, not just the one party.”

The women used creative methods including singing, dancing, and even doing “the slosh” to get their message across.

Potter said that there were many more women who could and should get involved in the campaign.

She explained: “We have something in the range of 340, 000 women in Scotland affected by this delay in the state pension age, and across the UK there’s something like 3.8m women affected.

“We’ve only got about 910 members at the moment – really we should have a lot more. An awful lot of women are not getting involved because they think there’s nothing they can do, but if they come and join our campaign group we’ll tell them how to get on board and what to do.

“We’ve got different letters and advice we can give them. It’s all about the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), sending them the letters and letting them know we’re complaining about the lack of notice and the delay of up to six years that we’ve been affected by.”

Several local politicians were in attendance, including SNP MP for Central Glasgow Alison Thewliss, Labour MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill Hugh Gaffney, lord provost of Glasgow City Council Eva Bolander, and council leader Susan Aitken. 

Speaking to CommonSpace, Alison Thewliss MP said: “I’m here to support the Waspi women in Glasgow because there has been this ridiculous injustice done where they’ve been told the age they were going to retire and they’ve been short-changed very, very badly by the UK Government.

“And there’s no majority now in parliament to keep the Waspi women from having their pension, so I’m committed to using any opportunity that I can – any opportunity that my party can – to raise this as well, because these women deserve justice. It’s as simple as that.”

Picture: CommonSpace

Look at how important CommonSpace has become, and how vital it is for the future #SupportAReporter