Too old to work?

The Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice is about to make a ruling on whether it is fair to force people into retirement at the age of 65. Since 2006, British Law has decreed that it is legal for employers to force retirement at 65. Over 600 challenges in tribunals await the decision.

At a time when it is becoming very clear that the balance of the UK population is towards older age groups, and at a time when the unsustainability of high pensions is clearly going to have a knock-on effect in years to come, why on earth can’t people work longer if they are fit and able to do so? Is retirement a right?

Will I get to retire in 35 years time? Or will it be 40 or 45? I am doubtful as to whether there will be any such thing as a state pension by then. There will be a smaller and smaller number of working age people having to support a larger and larger number of retired people (so-called baby-boomers) many of whom have in fact retired early and therefore will spend between about a quarter to a third of their lives in retirement. Is this really a useful way to spend a human life?

So let us help the aged by encouraging them to keep active and work (or else do what some of them already do and take on essential voluntary roles or impart their knowledge to younger people in their professions).

UPDATE: Sadly the ruling went against those that brought the case. Alas.

UPDATE 2: Since the General Election, the new coalition government have reversed the right of employers to enforce retirement at 65.

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