24 Mar 2009

Lowered Fiji retirement age could prove problematic, says NGO

8:49 pm on 24 March 2009

The chairman of Fiji's Wages Council says the new age for retirement may prove problematic if a stay order is issued over the matter.

Two unions are now considering an appeal to this month's court of appeal ruling to lower the retirement age by five years to 55.

Father Kevin Barr who is also a consultant for the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy says while lowering the retirement age does provide more opportunities for youth, the timing isn't ideal.

He says with many people now trying to pay off debt quickly, lessening the time allowed for a worker will put major pressure on older workers who are forced to retire earlier than they anticipated.

"It will make a big difference in the country. The public service commission is currently setting out to implement it while some of the unions and associations are challenging it in court asking for a stay order. I see a little bit of a problem if its being implemented on the one hand and there's a stay order being granted on the other and if a stay order comes into effect its going to be double trouble because the public service commission is going to be implementing it will have to backtrack on it."

Father Kevin Barr says education and health will be the hardest hit sectors with an exodus of experienced staff leaving the country prior to retirement highly likely.