Letter: Making it work

Posted on 14/11/2013 by


Dear Editor

I wrote to NEN in 2010:

‘The struggle of the labour movement, trade unions and others has always been to ease the burden of work and to improve wages and conditions of work. It has been a long struggle, great sacrifices being made but always holding out the hope that, at long last, the nation will be able to look after the youngest – giving them all the care and opportunity needed, and giving the oldest respect, dignity and the care they need. This is how it should be and the nation will be judged accordingly.

‘Now despite all the evidence of the correctness of that struggle there are serious moves to undo the good. Raising the retirement age from 65 – to 68 initially, then later on to 70 – is a thoroughly backward move. I believe the majority of people, having worked for an average of fifty years, welcome relief from the daily grind. There should not, of course, be a compulsory retiring age if an individual wishes to continue working.’

It is now November 2013 and:

there is a situation where there are over one million young people out of work, and older people are told they will have to work for years beyond 65. This is creating new problems for the labour movement and the trade unions to solve: how can we tackle these problems and obtain the best results?

As a counter-proposal to raising the retirement age, I suggest an individual option lowering the retiring age to 62. The skills, knowledge and experience of those taking the option can be used for the benefit of their communities by agreeing to do a maximum of nine hours paid work for those three years.

No doubt this example will raise many questions and problems, but organisations representing working people must discuss what options there are and which are beneficial to all.

  • The scheme would release jobs for young people.
  • The skills and experience of the older person would be available to the community
  • The older person would have some work satisfaction, respect and dignity and a better quality of life
  • There would be a steady replacement of people taking part for the benefit of the community.

Comments and ideas needed!

Tony Delahoy

Silverknowes Gardens