The notion was put forward by construction union Ucatt, which opposes the idea of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ pension age as unfair to manual workers in physically demanding jobs.
The motion passed at the conference commits Labour to: “Develop policies: that would create a flexible pension age based on the sector that a worker operates in; ensure that workers are not left in limbo where they are too ill or injured to work but too young to receive a pension.”
Moving the motion, Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye said: “A one-size-fits-all pension age is inherently discriminatory. It takes no account of the ability of a worker to actually undertake the tasks they are employed to do. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that doctors and lawyers are likely to be able to keep working longer than a brickie or prison officer.”
The problem of pension discrimination for manual workers is set to get worse, Ucatt says, as the pension age increases to 68 and it has already been suggested that it will rise further still.
Mr Rye said: “As a party we need to stop throwing people on a scrapheap where despite a lifetime of work, they are not able to retire with dignity. Instead they are forced through no fault of their own into the misery of relying on benefits, eking out their existence until they qualify for a pension.”