Anger at ‘forced’ retirement date

Hospital porter John Cook, who feels he was forced to retire prematurely from Spire Fylde Coast Hospital.

Hospital porter John Cook, who feels he was forced to retire prematurely from Spire Fylde Coast Hospital.

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A HOSPITAL porter says he felt “betrayed” after being forced to retire the day before the compulsory retirement age was abolished.

John Cook, 69, appealed against the decision made by Spire Fylde Coast Hospital on St Walburga’s Road, which saw him hang up his uniform for the last time on Friday.

The former engineer, of Cumberland Avenue, Cleveleys, said a doctor described him as being “fit as a 55-year-old” during his annual health checks with the company.

But despite his unblemished record during the last 11 years, Spire bosses rejected his appeal saying they had a duty to protect the “health and well being of employees”.

His termination notice was issued six months ago – before the law changed on compulsory retirement on October 1.

Mr Cook said: “I just don’t understand why I’ve been dismissed and by law the company doesn’t have to give me a reason.

“I feel so betrayed, I won employee of the year one year and a certificate for inspiring people in 2009.

“I would happily carry on working, they are replacing my post anyway so it just seems pointless.

“Other people over the age of 65 have been kept on, it feels like I’ve been singled out.”

The law change means employers can no longer issue compulsory retirement on workers when they reach the age 65.

If employers still want to enforce retirement, their decisions have to be objectively justified but workers can no longer be forced to retire on the grounds of age alone.

Mr Cook added: “Retirement should be a joint decision and a happy time, I feel as though I’ve been forced out before new legislation comes in.

“I got the job in the first place because of a Government scheme to get work for over 50s.”

Andrew Thomas, head of employee relations and organisational development at the private hospital defended the decision.

He said: “We understand for those who may have requested to continue working where their requests were declined it will have been disappointing.

“All requests to continue working will have been considered on an individual basis in accordance with the needs of the business.”