Friday, 28 January 2011

AGE welcomes the support of the EP Intergroup on Ageing for a coordinated and holistic approach to active and healthy ageing

“To do it better, let’s do it together”, declared Mr Lambert Van Nistelrooij, chair of the debate on the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing in the European Parliament on 27 January 2011, which called for a coordination of activities between the EU Partnership and the European Year 2012 on Active Ageing.

The event, organised jointly by AGE Platform Europe and the European Parliament Intergroup on Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity one day before the end of the consultation launched by the European Commission, brought together a wide range of stakeholders including EU officials from the three EU institutions, public health organisations, trade unions, insurance companies and private sector.

Opening the debate, Mr Robert Madelin, DG INFSO, presented the initiative as a “triple win” situation. “Partnership’ is of key importance to meeting the needs of society and its citizens and this initiative”, he explained “wins on three fronts since it promotes sustainable healthcare systems, improving healthy ageing and opening up new business opportunities”.

“The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing should seek to promote a broader vision of active and healthy ageing since this is the best way to optimise opportunities for physical, social and mental health that enable older people to take an active part in society without discrimination and for them to continue to enjoy an independent and good quality of life,” stressed Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary General, when presenting a summary of AGE’s answer to the EU consultation.

“The EU Year 2012 and the European Partnership will play very complementary roles” she explained. “While the objectives of the Year are to get all relevant stakeholders to take a political commitment to act, the Partnership should provide the means and resources to translate these commitments into reality in a coherent and sustainable way. These two EU processes should be mutually reinforcing to avoid a waste of energies and resources,” concluded Ms Parent.

Forestry sell off

Wise Owls like you are upset about the idea of the government selling off our forests. We have decided to ask the Department for Environment Food And Rural Affairs that we know you would like answers to. We have asked them for a repsonse which we will post here.

1) Why in the consultation paper is there no option for anyone to say they oppose the sell off?
2) Is this because you know the majority of people will be opposed to the sell off?
3) This misleads the public into thinking they have a say in whether the forest will be sold or not, when they don’t have that choice. Do you agree?
4) This will be considered by many to be undemocratic. Do you agree?
5) Does Caroline Spelman understand that the public are aware of the ommission and will see this as a further errosion of trust in the way politicians work?
6) Have Defra been presenting the option of the sales of forests to any private companies already?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Nine Lives Media Looking for Over 50s for BBC Panorama

Are you 50 plus and about to be made redundant in the next couple of weeks? Are you 50 something and have been made redundant, and still have young children to support? Have you been unemployed for 12 months or more?

Are you prepared to talk to a current affairs team about your experience of losing your job and problems you've had finding work?

Contact the programme researcher Claire Judge on 0161 832 2007 or email

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

'Ageist' jury duty limit scrapped

The age limit for people taking part in jury service in Scotland has been removed, meaning anyone aged 65 or over can now sit as a juror in court cases.

The Scottish government said the age limit was "outdated and ageist" and failed to recognise the extra life experience older people could offer.

The ban on over-65s serving as jurors had been in place since 1980.

But changes were made under the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act, which passed last year.

The Scottish government said the move would boost the pool of potential jurors available to Scotland's courts and ease the burden on younger members of the public who may have to juggle family and work commitments.

Valuable contribution

Under the new arrangements those aged 71 and over who do not want - or feel able - to serve on a jury will have the right to be excused.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "Scotland's jury service system was outdated, ageist and in need of modernisation.

"Scots continue to live active lives long after retirement and they make a valuable contribution to communities up and down the country.

"The idea that they should be debarred from taking part in jury duty was frankly ridiculous, insulting and it is time for change."

Mr MacAskill said juries should be a true reflection of society.

Currently those attending court for jury service have a right to be excused for five years, whether they serve or not.

Under the new law, those who attend but are not selected only have a right to be excused for two years.

Each year 150,000 people are called for jury service of which about 10% are selected.

BBC news

Monday, 17 January 2011

Older workers are worse off for redundancy, recruitment and reemployment Wise Owls research reveals

Over 50s council workers are being made redundent at over 3 times the rate of the their younger counterparts, new research has revealed today.

The stark findings came to light when Wise Owls, the leading over 50s support agency, used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain statistics on the age diversity of employees within all the National and London borough councils.

The data revealed that over 50s made up on average nearly 60% of all redunduncies within the councils. This is over three times the average of the UK workforce nationally, which also shows over 50s redundancies across the UK to be at their worst rate for over a decade (ONS). These figures come at a time when massive cuts are still to take place throughout the public sector, leaving older workers feeling unfairly targetted.

Further condemnation focussed on the recruitment practices of the councils after Wise Owls data showed the over 50s are less than half as likely to be recruited than the under 50s. The proportion of new recruits to the councils in the last year who were over 50 accounted for as little as 18% of recruits for County councils just and 10% of recruits in London Boroughs. This is despite 35% of the councils’ workforce being made up of over 50s.

A further blow to the job security of older workers is the liklihood of over 50s finding reemployment. Analysis of the ONS data showed that since the recession began, the remployment rate of over 50s has fallen to its lowest level in a decade. In the ‘boom’ years of 2004-2006, over 50s accounted for over 20% of all reemployment nationally. In the last year that figure fell to 16%.

It is clear that age is now the leading factor in making staff redundant and that it is the over 50s women and men from all backgrounds who will take the biggest hit from the Coalition’s cuts.

Chris Walsh - Director of Wise Owls, commented ‘There seems to be a complacancy within government that by forcing staff aged 50+ to take redudancy it will be less painful than for younger workers. Traditionally older workers have been ‘encouraged’ to take ‘voluntary’ redundancy when cuts are needed and it looks as if that mindset has not changed. However experience from the last cull of older council workers in the 90s showed that those made redundant often failed to get another job, leaving themselves and their families in poverty, while denuding the council of key knowledge and experience, which meant some had to be re-hired as consultants. We now offer a helpline for older workers to find them meaningful work and a sympathetic ear’

Wise Owls carried out the research as part of their wider ‘Age Equality’ campaign aimed at promoting age diversity in the workplace, demanding that the government carry out an Age Equality Impact Assessment to include an age audit of employees across the public sector.

Mr. Walsh said, “We are forced to use the FOI to get this vital information as the government has refused up till now to analyse the impact of the cuts on age, either in relation to the numbers being laid off or by who suffers from the impact of the cuts in public services. There are no existing government baseline figures to show whether age equality in the workplace is improving or getting worse, and we think this is because either they don’t care or do not want the public to know the full extent of employment ageism in the public sector. These statistics offer a starting point for the government to take up this issue by publishing a league table of all public sector employers in relation to age and employment and to start to carry out and publish age impact assessments of their cuts. This blatant attack on staff because of their age is both immoral and illegal.”

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Miriam O'Reilly wins Countryfile ageism claim

Ex-Countryfile host Miriam O'Reilly has won an employment tribunal against the BBC on the grounds of ageism and victimisation - but not sexism.

The 53-year-old claimed she had been unfairly dropped from the rural affairs show when it moved to a primetime Sunday evening slot in 2009.

O'Reilly, who was seeking compensation for alleged sex and age discrimination, said the outcome had "implications for all broadcasters, not just the BBC".
The BBC said it accepted the findings.

In a statement, it added it would "be looking at the full details".

O'Reilly said she had endured "an incredibly stressful 14 months".

"I did this because it was the right thing to do - I couldn't have lived with myself if I'd just walked away.

"I'm so pleased the judges have agreed with me."
O'Reilly, along with Juliet Morris, 45, and Michaela Strachan, 42, lost her job on Countryfile ahead of its move to Sunday evenings.
Former Watchdog host Julia Bradbury, then 38, and Matt Baker, then 30, were among new presenters who joined the revamped programme while John Craven, then 68, was kept on.

Miriam O'Reilly presenting for the BBC in 2006
O'Reilly told the tribunal she was not given a reason for her departure and was told only only that Countryfile was being "refreshed".
"It is not an exaggeration to say that I was devastated by this news," she said.
"Being dropped from the programme, I believe because of my age and sex, really affected my confidence."

But former BBC One controller Jay Hunt told the tribunal the claims were "entirely and categorically untrue" as well as "profoundly distressing and utterly offensive".
"I am a 43-year-old woman," she went on. "I have had my own difficulties surviving this industry.

"For that reason, the last thing I would ever do is ever discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender or age. Nothing could be further from my mind."

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

9 out of 10 IT Proffesionals Say Age Discrimination is Rife in Industry

In a poll carried out by recruiter Greythorn, 9 out of 10 IT professionals have admitted that the industry discriminates on the grounds of age. Furthermore, 3 out of 4 believe that over 50s are specifially the target of such discrimination

The research, published today, also highlighted that whilst 7 out of 10 feel either "secure" or "very secure" in thier jobs, only 3 out of 10 over 50s feel the same way. Consequently, is comes as little suprise that while only 1 in 20 IT professionals feel "very insecure" in their jobs, three times as many over 50s feel the same.

Paul Winchester, managing director of Greythorn, believes this is because age is not seen as a asset in the IT industry, "In professions such as law or accountancy an employee is considered better at his or her job when they have built up a body of experience and knowledge in a certain area.

"But in IT, age is not necessarily perceived as an asset. Some people over 50 think they are unpopular with current and future employers because of the perception that experienced people cannot adapt to new technologies."

However, he questions the sensibility of such a narrow minded view, "Yes, Generation Y have grown up with web 2.0 et al – but does that really give them an edge? Is it worth losing the in-depth knowledge, man management skills and experience of the over fifties in the pursuit of youth?"

From Check4Jobs UK