TUC 2012: TUC delegates vowed to maintain a "sustained campaign" for decent pensions today and fiercely fight against increasing the retirement age to 68.
Congress heard how increasing the state pension age disproportionately affects manual labourers who are not living longer due to the nature of their work and the physical toll it takes on the body.
Construction union Ucatt's Chris Murphy said: "The government's policy on pensions represents another attack on the working class.
"After time working as a bricklayer your back goes and your arms and knees are knackered.
"As a manual labourer the older you get the slower you get. So how many of our workers are going to get to 68 to receive their pension?
"Our life expectancy is increasing at a slower rate compared to the rest of the workforce."
The TUC agreed to reject automatic links between pensions and life expectancy.
Unison's Mike Hayes said it was "essential" that the TUC keeps up its pensions campaign.
"We continue to oppose increasing the retirement age especially if this is not linked to the actual longevity experience of the pension schemes.
"The reality is that if life expectancy increases then the cost of the schemes will change too.
"But if life expectancy improves then members must continue to have a role in determining what and how changes are to be made.
"Defined contribution schemes don't work as employers pay derisory contributions into them."
Mr Hayes said employer contributions to pensions should be a minimum of 10 per cent not the "inadequate" 3 per cent proposed by 2018.
"It must be recognised that the government and employers must pay more not just employees," he added.
The NUJ's Anita Halpin said: "The economy will only improve if we have fair pensions and young people who are in work.
"We need to have a better economic strategy that includes fair taxation that will help to pay for pensions and create more jobs."
Congress called on the general council to campaign for the establishment of an independent commission - with union representation - responsible for determining state pension age and early retirement age based on a range of criteria.
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