11,000 workers to be hit with increase in state pension age
UP to 11,000 workers nearing retirement will have to spend another year on the job, as the Government pushes ahead with plans to increase the state pension age.
These workers, who are aged 62 now, will be affected by the raising of the state pension age from 65 to 66 in two-and-a-half years' time. And it will be raised to 67 in 2012, and raised again to 68 in 2028 to cope with the growing cost of the state pension bill.
There were protests in the Dail yesterday that this would put an unfair burden on construction workers and cleaners, who will now have to work longer before they can draw their state pension.
But Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would not withdraw the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill to raise the state pension age, which is going through the Dail this week.
"We have reached agreement on this matter, as people are well aware, and we must resolve the difficulties and challenges the country faces in order that everyone can be guaranteed a decent future," he said.
The key reason for the raising of the state pension age is the projection that the percentage of pensioners in the population will double from 11pc to 26pc as people live longer and healthier lives. The ratio of workers to pensioners will drop from six-to-one now to two-to-one in 2050. The State is spending €3.5bn this year on the contributory state pensions and €950m on the non-contributory state pensions.
Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins said workers were not aware of the latest change to the retirement age being introduced.
The hardest hit would be the lowest-paid workers who had paid their taxes and worked all their lives, he said.
"This is nothing more than a further attack on working people," he said.
Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said yesterday he would bring in "mirroring legislation" for the public service -- so that the same retirement ages would apply there.