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Equality Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:31 am on 9th June 2009.

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Sarah Veale: We have been around this course a few times with the CBI. We find it very strange that you have a piece of anti-discrimination legislation that has sitting within it almost a green light to discriminate. The good employers will know how to manage retirement properly. If you retain a mandatory retirement age, it allows sloppy practices and it does not make employers think carefully about whether the individuals are actually fit and capable and want to carry on. The CBI has its evidence. We have evidence that suggests that the meeting that you can have with the employer to discuss these things is very weak. The employer is not obliged to give any response whatever. The absence of complaints simply means that there is not a process for putting those complaints through. We at the TUC would encourage genuine flexibility of retirement, bearing in mind people’s access to their pension schemes. That is another issue—some people cannot afford to retire early while others might want to do so for all sorts of different reasons. It is a complex issue, and we welcome the review that will take place and will submit our views. We feel that this provision must be taken out of the system, as it is inherently wrong to allow for discrimination within anti-discrimination legislation on such weak grounds.