Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pensioners Step Up Campaign In Centenary Year

2008 is the Centenary of the state pension in Britain, introduced after a successful campaign by unions, social reformers and elderly people in 1908. I attended a rally in Nottingham at the weekend to celebrate this milestone social advance and gather support for the campaign for a decent state pension. The renewed campaign by pensioners is very timely given the rocketing prices of essentials and the economic crash and its likely effect on those on fixed incomes and those who make good use of public services. I have to say I am always impressed by senior citizens campaigners - younger activists and trades unionists have a lot to learn from the persistence, good organisation, radical motivation, mobilising strength and energy of the older generation. The good point was made that we must all be united in the struggle for social justice and this means solidarity with those fighting both pensioner poverty and child poverty.

A lobby of Parliament is planned for Wednesday 22nd October with a rally at Westminster Central Hall at 12 noon. It is good that many national unions are backing this day of action, let us hope they can deliver supporters on the day.
Support for the 4th October Keep The Promise event on Child Poverty was also raised at the Nottingham meeting.

I am adding the National Pensioners Convention to my campaigning organisation links list.

National Pensioners Convention Declaration
This Convention declares that every pensioner has the right to choice, dignity, independence and security as an integral and valued member of society. These rights require an adequate state pension linked to average earnings, comprehensive free health care and concessionary travel on public transport

There is also a Pensioners' Charter-


Every man and woman on reaching state pensionable age will have the right to:

*a basic state pension set above the official poverty level and linked to average male earnings.
*a warm and comfortable home.
*free health care treatment based on clinical need and an annual comprehensive health check.
*free community care and services to assist living at home.
*free long-term care.
*free nationwide travel on all public and local transport.
*free education, access to and participation in leisure and cultural activities.
*goods, services and benefits without age discrimination.
*active engagement and consultation on national and local issues affecting older citizens.
*advocacy, dignity, respect and fair treatment in all aspects of their lives.

As a first step towards establishing these rights we call on the government to implement the Pensioners’ Manifesto.

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