MANUAL WORKERS must be given the option of retiring earlier so they are not forced into “the misery of relying on benefits,” builders told Labour conference yesterday.
Construction union Ucatt secured support for a motion calling for a flexible retirement age so that labourers are not cheated out of their retirement.
Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye suggested workers were being sold a lie when ministers justified a rising retirement age on the basis that people were living longer.
“Workers in professional roles — your doctors, lawyers and accountants — have a life expectancy of 80,” he said. “But for manual workers their life expectancy is under 73 years. And the life expectancy of manual workers is rising more slowly than all other groups.
“Workers are being thrown into limbo. Too old to work but too young to receive a pension.
“Or to paraphrase Tracy Chapman: ‘Their bodies too old for working, their bodies too young to look like this’.”
TUC research has shown that one in eight workers are forced to retire as much as five years before the current pension age.