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Three-quarters of employees think a delay in UK state pension age is unfair, reveals YouGov


Steps to raise state pension age will alienate the public, unions warn following YouGov survey.

More than three quarters of British people think making British workers work longer than their European counterparts to receive their state pension is "unfair".

A YouGov poll - commissioned by Unite, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) - revealed this morning that a clear majority of those born before 1977 polled (62%) are uncomfortable with plans to raise the state pension age, with 53% of those voting Conservative in 2010 sharing that view.

A strong majority of voters (62%) believe that any attempt to continue to raise the state pension age will hit the poorest pensioners hardest. And substantial numbers of current Conservative voters are also concerned that delaying retirement would mean fewer jobs for younger people (35%) and deny working people the opportunity to enjoy a well-earned retirement.

But while 57% of people polled do have some understanding of plans to delay the state pension age, a significant number (38%) do not.

Over a third of Conservative voters (35%) were unaware, as were 31% of Lib Dem supporters and 37% of Labour supporters, of plans to make people work longer.

Tomorrow's Queen's Speech is expected to announce measures to make public sector workers work longer.

The majority of EU countries have set the pension age at 65, while in France, the new president Francois Hollande has pledged to reduce the age from 62 to 60.

The unions' campaign - called 68 is too late, launched today - seeks to mobilise the public against plans which could see the finishing line for access to state pensions moved ever further forward. Men today are already set to work three years longer and women work eight years longer before they can claim their state pension.

The unions are also highlighting the serious workplace and social problems that will accompany the enforced longer working age for public sector workers, particularly those with strenuous or demanding jobs like construction workers, cleaners, nurses, paramedics and teachers, including an increasingly frail workforce and the exclusion of younger workers from the labour market.

General secretary of the PCS union, Mark Serwotka, said: "In an economy that can afford tax breaks for the very rich, it ought to be a national scandal that the rest of us are being forced to work so much longer. Instead of making people work until they drop, we should be giving them dignity in their retirement, and rather than abandoning pensioners to poverty, we should provide a decent state pension that they can live on."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, added: "This Government is determined to strip workers of the entitlement to a retirement that is dignified. We must be equally determined to stand together and ensure we defend a decent retirement age for all workers. It is simply not feasible for the majority of people to be working beyond 68. It is certainly not in the interest of employees or of young people who will be squeezed out of the job market."