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Unions want pension age commission
Delegates at the TUC conference in Brighton conference criticised the rise in the state pension age to 68
Unions have called for an independent commission into the state pension age amid anger over plans to make people work until they are 68 before receiving their retirement money.
Delegates at the TUC conference spoke out against the idea that working longer is inevitable, warning that many employees would not physically be able to last that long in their job.
Chris Murphy of the construction union Ucatt said people in the building trade such as bricklayers do not work late in their lives because of problems with their health.
"The older you get, the slower you get," he told the Brighton conference. "This is just another way of saving money, but how many workers will last until they are 68 anyway, especially with cuts to the health service?"
Kevin Courtney of the National Union of Teachers, wearing a T-shirt saying "68 Is Too Late", said there are fears that the state retirement age would be increased further, possibly to 72.
"This could only have been introduced by a cabinet of millionaires. Many teachers will simply not be able to work to that age because of ill health, caring responsibilities, or losing their jobs. The best years of retirement will be lost and people will spend a greater proportion of retirement living with ill health."
Mike Hayes of Unison said successive governments had watched as pension provision declined.
"An ever decreasing minority of workers in the private sector remain in pension schemes that are frankly not for purpose. Defined contribution schemes don't work as employers pay derisory contributions into them."
The conference pressed the TUC to co-ordinate campaigns against cuts in pensions and called for new research which can be used to show that "working longer means living less".
Calls were also made for an independent commission to determine the state pension age, based on occupational effects such as shift working. Pensions will be a focus of TUC marches on October 20 against the Government's austerity measures.
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