SIPTU delegates attending the union’s Biennial Delegate Conference in Cork have today (Tuesday, 3rd October) unanimously backed a motion calling on the Government and Health Service Executive (HSE) to give all health workers the option of remaining in employment beyond the age of 65. Addressing the conference in the Cork City Hall, SIPTU National Executive Council member, Broc Delaney, said: “It is unacceptable that a situation is being allowed to develop which is leading to low paid health workers on poor or modest occupational pensions being placed into a poverty trap. This is resulting from them being forced to retire at 65 years of age, in line with their contracts, although they are not paid the State pension until they are 66. “Another injustice is the practice of employers granting health workers an extension of service beyond the age of 65 but also immediately scrapping their existing contract of employment and its associated terms and conditions. This is a situation which is occurring in State hospitals and health care providers.” Delaney added: “SIPTU members are not simply seeking a change in the retirement age. It must be clear that increasing the retirement age cannot be made mandatory. Any changes need to be fair to the employee, taking into account the nature of their work, pay and conditions.”