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Automatic retirement challenged in European courts

A number of campaigners for those nearing or at retirement age have sought to clarify the UK legislation which allows companies across the country to force retirement on any employee at a predefined retirement age. Even though this system has been in place for many years in the UK there has been a legal challenge which has now ended up in the European courts.

The case is being brought on the basis of alleged discrimination on the basis of age, i.e. the fact that employees who may still be well capable of carrying out their duties are forcefully retired at a predetermined age. There has been an interim ruling today which has backed the UK government's stance and deemed the current law not to be against equality regulations but the case will still go before the full European court for a final ruling.

While the ruling today is a blow for campaigners it has been revealed that there is a split in opinion at the EU with some backing calls for change. Even though the case was referred to the EU courts by the British High Court back in 2006 it has become vital to the future financial wellbeing of many people who have passed retirement age. The cost of living has increased dramatically over the last 12 months and more older people than ever before are suffering real hardship.

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