The STOP67 campaign played a major role in the decision of the Government to defer the proposed increase in the pension age to 67 years. The campaign includes SIPTU, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NCWI), Age Action and Active Retirement Ireland.
The Programme for Government included a commitment to defer the increase to 67, due to come into force on 1st January 2021, “pending the report of the Commission on Pensions and any subsequent Government decisions on its recommendations.”
The Commission was proposed in response to the demand by the STOP67 campaign and others for the establishment of a Stakeholder Forum, representative of civic society organisations, trade unions, employers and government to develop a realistic and fair pensions plan incorporating proposals for the age and living standards for those in retirement.
The STOP67 campaign is calling for the legislation, introduced in 2011 and allowing for the increase in the pension age to 67, to be removed immediately and completely from the statute books in order to allow for a representative and democratic process of consultation and for the proposed Commission to complete its work.
SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, Ethel Buckley, said: “We believe that the membership of the Commission should genuinely reflect the interests of all stakeholders in order to achieve the consensus required from all sections of society on the pensions issue.
“Participants should have equal access to all data, information and the models (demographic and public finance projections, cost and savings of various measures, etc.) to be used in the work of the Commission in order to ensure authentic shareholder engagement.”
NWCI director, Orla O’Connor, said: “The STOP67 campaign believes that the areas to be examined must also include age discrimination in work contracts (preventing people from working up to and beyond pension age), the unequal treatment of women in pension entitlements, income security, living standards and human rights guarantees.
“While a new, fair pension system should be financially and actuarially sustainable, it is equally important that the Commission’s work is not constrained by pre-determined fiscal priorities. It should also be given sufficient time to complete its demanding and substantial task. A 21st century pension system should provide choice and adequate living standards for all in their older age.”