Pensioners protest in underwear

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Indy Politics

Pensioners in their underwear protested outside Parliament today at the "complete injustice" of losing out on their private pension schemes.

Around 50 people attended the demonstration, during which several removed their clothes and held a banner which read: "2009 and still stripped of our pensions".

It was the latest protest organised by the Pensions Action Group over the past seven years.

The group says workers whose pension schemes collapsed have still not received the full amount they are entitled to, despite the schemes having been guaranteed by the Government.

One of the organisers, Andrew Parr, 64, suffered a loss to his pension when the manufacturing company he worked for on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent got into difficulties.

He said: "At the time I was 60 years old. The chances of me building up any money for a pensions scheme were non-existent.

"I couldn't save that sort of money in just four or five years.

"It affects everything. Pensioners are particularly vulnerable to inflation because the things that pensioners pay the most money for are travel, electricity, council tax and gas - the things that are going up in price."

The group achieved a partial victory in December 2007 when the Government promised they would get 90% of their pensions, but the protesters say most have only received 50%-70%.

They say this is because of a number of factors, including the fact that some schemes offered retirement from the age of 55 and benefits to long-serving employees, which have not been taken into account.

Willie Riggans, 68, from Ayr, Scotland, lost out when the engineering company he worked for went into administration in 2001.

Mr Riggans said: "We were told it was safe. We were told it was guaranteed.

"The Government told us to join and save for our retirement. We did everything that was asked of us and now we find ourselves in this position."

He added that the Government had told them it would be unfair to make taxpayers fully fund their pensions but "you can see where the taxpayers' money is going at the moment across the road".

Adrian de Segundo, 67, from central London, worked for a mechanical engineering company.

"It's a complete injustice. We should have a Parliament who maintain standards and integrity, but we haven't got that.

"They are fiddling their expenses and allowances. It's so petty and mean," he said.