British firms can now fire aged workers

July 26th, 2011 - 11:33 am ICT by IANS  

London, July 26 (IANS) A European court’s ruling has come as an encouragement for British firms who can now compel thousands of workers to retire against their will, Daily Express reported.

Last week, the European Court of Justice in a case ruled that a German law requiring state prosecutors to retire at 65 was justified. The ruling has opened up new avenues for firms to argue that staff are not fit to work beyond a certain age.

The landmark court decision has provided employers with “wriggle room” to justify compulsory retirement for employees aged 65.
It could mean elderly staff being compelled to make way for younger colleagues.

Experts have described the ruling as “extremely worrying”.

Ros Altmann, director general at Saga, said: “It is essential that we stop employers using age as an excuse to throw people onto the scrapheap.

“This ruling sparks concern that employers might be encouraged to try it.”

The “default retirement age” of 65 was abolished by the government in April.

The ruling appeared to suggest a retirement age can be justified to promote a younger workforce.

“More worryingly, it could open the door for employers to put forward questionable arguments about the fitness of older workers as a reason to retire them early,” he said.

The European Court of Justice, is the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law.

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