CWU backs tomorrow’s TV Licence protests

Union Matters

UK Pensioners will be protesting at BBC centres all across the country at noon tomorrow against plans to end their free TV Licence concessions.

And the CWU is 100 per cent behind Britain’s OAP Army, as they demonstrate in defence of their rights in London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, and several other locations, with a Belfast protest planned for next week – the protests, which all begin at mid-day, are organised by the National Pensioners Convention (NPC).

Brian Lee, who has recently been elected to represent retired members on our union’s National Executive, says: “I’ll be protesting at Portland Place in London tomorrow and I hope as many of my fellow CWU veterans will join me – and our younger comrades too.

“I think it’s outrageous that over 75s face being burdened with this extra cost, especially when for so many older people, the television is often their only company at home.

“And it’s also very dishonest that the Government is shirking its responsibility for this – after withdrawing the BBC’s funding and then claiming this is entirely the BBC’s decision.”

Some 3.7 million old aged pensioners will be affected when this change comes into effect next June and the announcement has parked fury right across the country – particularly in a month when the nation has come together to remember the valiant sacrifices of our soldiers in World War Two.

A petition running on the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) website, urging the Government to restore the BBC’s funding to retain this concession, has already received over half a million signatures.

And celebrities including actor Rick Tomlinson, former Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman, travel programme presenter (and former ‘Monty Python’ star) Michael Palin and documentary broadcaster Ben Fogle have each given their public backing to the campaign.

Our own CWU general secretary Dave Ward has pledged the “full support of the CWU” for Britain’s over-75s who, he points out, “have all given so much to this country over the years.

“To suddenly tell this generation that they have to pay an extra £154 per year is quite frankly an outrage – and the UK trade union movement must stand fully behind this growing protest.

“If you can, please come along to your nearest TV Licence protest on this coming Friday and show the Government and the BBC that we all stand together with our elderly community.”