Echo campaign key to pension justice

The South Wales Echo claims to have played a key part in the setting up of a £400m Government fund for people who lose their pensions when their employers go bust, writes Dominic Ponsford.

The fund will help about 60,000 workers, including 1,000 former employees of Cardiff-based steel company ASW.

The Echo had campaigned for the steel workers since July 2002, when they discovered they had lost the pensions they had paid into for up to 30 years.

More than 6,000 readers returned coupons printed in the paper calling for compensation and a further 1,000 signatures were picked up on the streets during three city centre marches when workers carried Echoheaded banners.

The petition was presented to Andrew Smith, Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions.

Reporter Mark Stead also travelled to Brussels with Plaid Cymru and John Benson, one of the ex-steel men affected, to lobby the European Parliament.

Benson praised the role played by Echo staff, saying: “They have been absolutely fantastic since that terrible day when we lost not only our jobs but the pensions most of us had paid into for up to 30 years.

“Not once have they given up on our fight for pension justice.”

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