The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has awarded compensation to a SIPTU member employed by Prenco Manufacturing Limited in Skibbereen, County Cork, after he was forced to retire at 65 years of age when he was in a position to continue working. SIPTU Workers Rights Centre (WRC) Advocate, Andrea Cleere, said: “This is an important win, not just for our member, Kevin O’Donovan, but also in the use of equality legislation to effectively protect the rights of all those who may come under pressure to retire from their work before they wish to. “Kevin requested to remain at work until his 66th birthday as he would only then become eligible for the state pension. Unfortunately, his employer denied this request and mandatory retired him on his 65th birthday, this was despite Kevin being in good health and employed in a role which is not considered manually labour intensive.” Cleere added: “The company tried to justify their discriminatory actions by relying on arguments concerning Health and Safety legislation and inter-generational fairness. However, the WRC adjudicator found that management did not genuinely consider his request to continue working or the impact that imposing mandatory retirement would have on Kevin and awarded him €16,120 in compensation.” Kevin O’Donovan said: “It was unfortunate that the company failed to follow the Government advice which is promoting the right of workers to remain in the workplace beyond age 65 if they wish.” SIPTU Organiser, Joe Kelly, said: “Great credit is due to Kevin for pursuing this case to its conclusion. Employers must realise that they should not cast their workers aside when they reach the age of 65, often showing disregard for their long service and many years of loyalty.  SIPTU will challenge every employer who cannot show objective grounds for ending a member’s employment.”