68 is too late | Don't raise the state pension age

68 is too late

Don't raise the state pension age

The government recently indicated it may raise the state pension age for millions of workers aged 44 to 52. Fearing massive defeat in the next general election, on Thursday 30 March, the government announced it will delay the decision until the next parliament.

Let's drive home our message to parliament: workers will not be made to pay for decades of politicians' bad choices. We create the wealth in this society, and we deserve a share of that wealth in our old age.

This campaign has been launched by Unite’s Retired Members National Committee, together with the National Pensioners Convention and the Scottish Pensioners Forum.

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New research exposes workers’ pension and retirement time bomb

New research by Unite the union has exposed the pension and retirement time bomb facing workers, with many stating they can’t continue working in key roles until state pension age. The research found that a staggering 86 per cent of health workers do not believe they can mentally continue to undertake their current roles beyond the age of 66, while 83 per cent of them could not physically continue in their roles beyond the same age.

Over 10,000 Unite members across four sectors (health, construction, road haulage & warehouse, and passenger transport) were surveyed. Responses demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of workers don’t believe they can continue working until the existing state pension age.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The UK is facing a pension and retirement time bomb. Tens of thousands of workers will be forced out of employment due to the physical and mental demands of their work but will be too young to receive the state pension.

“The government needs to urgently rethink its entire strategy of expecting workers to work even longer. A failure to do so will consign workers to the misery of being too old to work but too young for a pension.

“Plans to accelerate the introduction of the state pension age to 68 are clearly unworkable.”

Petition hand-in

On Tuesday 2nd May we handed in over 36,000 petition signatures to the UK government in both London and Edinburgh, calling on politicians to rule out any further pension age rises in the next Parliament.

The same week, BP and Shell announced their first quarters profits amounting to well over £10 billion combined.  Profiteering by oil and gas companies is driving up the cost of living.  Why should workers be made to pay for this crisis?

Workers create the wealth in this society, and we demand our share of that wealth in our old age.

68 is too late!

Workers should not be made to work longer to pay for this crisis

The State Pension age is already due to rise to 67 by 2028 and 68 by 2046. However, the government recently indicated that it may attempt to bring forward the rise to 68, possibly as early as 2037, or even earlier.

On Thursday 30 March, the government announced that it will not be bringing forward the state pension age this year. Instead, the decision will be delayed until the next parliament. We must continue until we get a commitment from all major parties that they will not raise the state pension age in the next parliament.

Moreover, millions of workers below the age of 45 must already wait until they are 68 to claim the state pension. 

Decades of bad choices by politicians have left us with an economy which does not work for workers. Life expectancy is no longer rising steadily. While the wealthiest can expect their good health to continue until they are 70, the poorest of us can only expect our good health to last until we are 52.

Cuts to the NHS and long waiting lists mean that the number of us not able to work due to long-term sickness has increased dramatically. Analysis by Age UK has found 1.3 million people aged 50-64 are ‘economically inactive’ due to sickness.

Work no longer pays like it used to. Almost one in ten full-time workers and one in five part-time workers are now in poverty, and analysis by Age UK has found that almost one third (1.5 million) pre-state pension age households have savings of less than £5,000 and one tenth have savings of less than £250, or no savings at all.

And after decades of attacks on defined benefit pension schemes, most of us can’t expect to have a comfortable and secure retirement anymore.

Meanwhile Unite research has found the profits of the UK’s largest companies are now 89 per cent higher than before the pandemic. There is enough wealth in our society to pay for a generous state pension for all, from the age of 65.

Politicians have a choice. Will they take the side of the profiteering or will they take the side of ordinary people?

Join Unite as a retired member

Unite Retired Members logoUnite retired members campaign on a range of issues, including:

  • Dignity in retirement – an end to pensioner poverty, safe, accessible public transport, properly funded social care and health services, universal benefits such as the free bus pass, TV licence for the over 75s, winter fuel allowance and NHS prescriptions.
  • Better communities – better care in the community, securing decent public services, ending poverty, stronger social cohesion and safe, secure and affordable homes for all
  • Decent work for all – ending zero-hours contracts, job insecurity, low pay and demanding better career opportunities

Not a member? Join Unite today

Already a member and coming up to retirement? Simply call your local Unite office and they will adjust your membership and direct debit. Retired membership is just 55p a week.

Join the National Pensioners Convention

The NPC’s main objective is to promote the welfare and interests of all pensioners, as a way of securing dignity, respect and financial security in retirement.

In its relatively short history, the NPC has achieved some significant benefits for older people:

  1. Restoration of the link with earnings – 30 years after the Thatcher government took it away
  2. Introduction of the free concessionary bus pass
  3. Introduction of the winter fuel allowance
  4. A change in the rules so that someone in hospital no longer has their state pension stopped until after 52 weeks, rather than the original 6 weeks
  5. Led the successful campaign to reduce VAT on fuel to 5%

The real strength of the organisation comes from the work of its many affiliated groups, including many Unite branches, who are active in their local areas and regions promoting the NPC’s campaigns. Find out more about how to join the NPC and affiliate your Unite branch.

Join the Scottish Pensioners Forum

Scottish Pensioners Forum logoThe Scottish Pensioners’ Forum was set up in 1992 as an umbrella organisation for groups and individuals working and campaigning for a better deal for older people.

The Forum was initiated by the Scottish Trade Union Congress Pensioners Committee as a "national" body, to allow pensioners to speak on behalf of pensioners.

Find out more about how to join the SPF and affiliate your Unite branch


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