In a fiery response to the government’s decision to raise the retirement age, union bosses across the country have unleashed a scathing critique, expressing deep concerns for workers and their overall well-being.
The contentious move has been met with intense backlash from unions representing various sectors, who argue that such a change would have severe repercussions for both current and future generations of workers.
Australians can currently access the age pension at 65 years and 6 months if they were born between July 1, 1952, and December 31, 1953.
Those born after that date can access their pension from the age of 66.
However, starting from July 1, those born after January 1, 1957 will likely have to remain in employment for longer, as the pension age will be raised to 67 years old.
The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) NSW secretary Darren Greenfield expressed concern over “burnt out” workers having to work well past 60 before they can access the pension.
“In construction, they do a lot of the heavy lifting of the structure, concreters, steel fixers, scaffolders, it is very labour intensive work,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“A lot of their bodies burn out by 50 to 55. By the time they get to 60 it is a nightmare for them not to be able to retire.”
Australian Workers Union national secretary Daniel Walton also expressed his worry for blue-collar workers whose bodies will simply not “allow them to work to that ripe old retirement age”.
“Our members by and large work in manufacturing sites, they use a lot of heat, extreme temperatures, manual labour, it takes a toll on a blue collar worker’s body,” he told the publication.
“For many of them their bodies don’t allow them to work to that ripe old retirement age.”
The recent comments from union bosses follow the release of a powerful photograph captured by a concerned tradie that brought attention to the growing concerns amongst older Australians regarding the proposed lifting of the retirement age.
The photo, believed to have originated several years ago, has since gone viral after it captured the sentiment of countless older Australians facing the prospect of an extended working life.
The photo shows a tradesman holding a sign that states: “Only a bloke who’s worked in an office his whole life would think you can work until you’re 70.”
The photo struck a chord with those who oppose raising the pension eligibility age from 65 to 67.
Older Australians, in particular, expressed their worries and frustrations about the potential consequences of raising the retirement age.
“You get tired!! And working til 70 only means less life to live in your retirement years! I have worked 50 years now,” one person wrote in response to the photo.
Another offered support for the tradie for taking a stand.
“Good on you mate. Let’s raise the retirement age for politicians only,” they said.
One older Australian agreed with the sentiments, expressing concern for their sons who are also tradies.
“Could not agree more, I have sons that are roofers, have done all their working lives, damage done to shoulders, legs , arms hands etc, is shocking,” they shared.
“I really do not believe you can expect them to be working until 70 utter rubbish, 55 – 60 absolute tops.”