Physical capabilities must be part of retirement debate

With reference to your article ‘Retirement age must be scrapped sooner rather than later’ (Personnel Today, 28 October), I am concerned that pressure is being brought by organisations that have only white collar, professional and low-risk jobs.

An example cites B&Q hiring ex-tradesmen into its retail operations, but no-one seems to be thinking about the companies these ex-tradesmen come from.

Our company employs 50 staff in a production workshop and another 150 on the road, doing installation and maintenance work. Without a mandatory cut-off point would we be obliged to employ people until they choose to leave, or they die, whichever came first?

No-one is questioning the mental capacity of people in their 60s and 70s, but their physical capabilities and reaction times do deteriorate with time. Your article talks about performance management as a tool for removal. Again, feasible for technical and admin, but less so for blue-collar staff.

Employers are legally obliged to protect their employees, and anyone else who may be affected by the company’s activities. We need a mandatory retirement option to protect these employees, and others, from themselves.

I would like you ask other readers or contributors from the engineering and manufacturing side for their views. And if anyone has developed effective performance management systems for installers and their assistants, I’d love to hear about them.

John McCloskey, HR manager, GEA Denco

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