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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 07:24 GMT
Overnight vigil by ex-ASW workers
ASW workers on pensions march
ASW workers have fought a five-year campaign for compensation
Former Allied Steel and Wire (ASW) workers fighting for compensation over lost pensions have protested outside Downing Street and the Welsh assembly.

Former workers gathered near the prime minister's home and at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

They were also staging an overnight vigil to highlight their five-year fight.

About 1,000 workers in Cardiff, Sheerness, Kent, and Belfast were hit when ASW was declared bankrupt in 2002.

The UK Government has been criticised by campaigners for refusing to accept findings by parliamentary ombudsman Ann Abraham, who said the government was guilty of maladministration and urged that victims be compensated.

But ministers said they would not use public money for compensation.

John Benson
I was going to retire at 60, but here I am at 61 a litter picker for Cardiff Council
John Benson

However, in February, four people who lost all or part of their company pensions won their High Court case against the government.

The court ruled that the government was wrong to reject completely the ombudsman's report into collapsed pension schemes.

The court decision does not oblige the government to compensate an estimated 85,000 people for their loss.

However, since then there have been setbacks.

In July, there was anger among the ex-steelworkers after a move to set up a "lifeboat" fund was overturned in the Commons.

Ministers said they were prepared to move towards providing 90% of core entitlements for the 125,000 people affected, up from 80%.

But the former workers from Cardiff and Kent said they wanted their full entitlement.

Furnace at ASW in Cardiff
ASW's Cardiff plant closed down in July 2002

On Tuesday, former workers will gather outside 10 Downing Street and the Senedd ahead of a review by actuary Andrew Young to see if financial help for people who lost their pensions could be increased.

Ex-ASW worker John Benson, 61, from Cardiff who lost the pension he had been contributing to for 38 years, will join the protest by the Pensions Action Group, representing 125,000 workers.

"We want full compensation - 100% of what we lost," he said. "We want compensation for all the stress and worry it has caused our families.

"It has taken over my life, I go to bed thinking about it, I get up thinking about it. I wonder what have I done to deserve this.

"I've lost my life savings through no fault of my own. I was going to retire at 60, but here I am at 61 a litter picker for Cardiff Council.

"We are not asking for much, only for what we lost. I just hope the review will come out in our favour," he added.



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