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Pensioners get ready for post office fight; ACTION GROUP CALLS OPEN MEETING TO BATTLE PAYMENT CHANGE.

Byline: GARETH LEWIS

THE future of post offices and pensions will be the hot topics at a big rally in Coventry this week.

The annual rally of the Coventry branch of the British Pensioners and Trade Union Action Association (BPTUAA) has attracted an impressive list of speakers.

They include Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, and former Unison leader Rodney Bickerstaffe, now president of the National Pensioners' Convention.

BPTUAA chairman John Parkes has promised they will be "questioned very closely" at the event on Wednesday at the Central Methodist Hall.

The main theme will be the future of pensions being drawn from post offices.

After 2003 the government will begin to phase out the methods of getting benefits and state pensions from post offices using giros and order books.

It will be replaced with payments being paid directly into bank accounts, some of which can be accessed at machines in post offices, or a post office account operated with a card and pin number.

The method horrified Mr Parkes, who said: "We are very troubled about carrying a card, and as for a pin number people are likely to forget it. We are in favour of keeping the pensions book."

Other speakers will include Coventry MP Jim Cunningham and Lib Dem spokesman for older people Paul Burstow MP.

The meeting, from 10.30am to 12.30pm, is free and open to the public.

CAPTION(S):

ALL TOGETHER: Rodney Bickerstaffe and Coventry MP Jim Cunningham
COPYRIGHT 2002 Coventry Newpapers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 2, 2002
Words:247
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