Seize your pension power: feedback on our Shareaction event

We had a fun meeting on Tuesday 19 May with over 20 people learning how to influence the South Yorkshire Pension Fund. It was a first for us, working with ShareAction to help develop our campaign, and it was a first for ShareAction’s expert Jamie Audsley, who’d never had a pension fund trustee in his audience before.

We were also pleased to welcome 2 councillors (including a cabinet member) and a researcher working for one of our newly elected MPs. They were all able to experience the concern felt by other audience members about the need for the South Yorkshire Pension Fund to move out of fossil fuel investments and into more positive sectors.

Jamie spent some time explaining how pensions work, from the money coming from an individual’s pay to it transferring to the pension fund and then being invested in shares. We spent some time looking at the South Yorkshire Pension Fund in more detail, including which companies they are invested in (including bhpBilliton which has a poor record on the environment) and who the key decision makers are. We did a short role play between pension fund trustees and campaigners, to ready ourselves for our next engagement with the Fund, then finished by brainstorming what we need to do to help us achieve our aims.

One idea was to get more pension fund members on board by having roadshows to raise awareness. Local venues such as Moorfoot, a big Sheffield Council building, were suggested. If you work in a venue where there are many pension scheme members and you’d like to help out, please get in touch (opens in a new window). Don’t forget the South Yorkshire Pension Fund includes people working in Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham too. Teachers and NHS staff are part of a different scheme but many other workers in previously public sector workforces may be in the Fund, such as the support staff in schools.

More information: ShareAction’s SYPA Pension Power slides, minutes of the meeting.

Stay in touch to find out how you can get involved in this campaign. Oh, and to help secure our future with more good jobs, better housing and a more liveable planet! You can by follow us on Facebook,  on Twitter via @ShefClimateNews  and by signing up to our email list.