Older employees get the boot from Battersea Dogs' Home

Caroline Cassidy

They welcome canines and felines of all ages but apparently Battersea Dogs' Home is no longer so keen on its more mature employees. A number of workers at the famous animal shelter claim they have been sacked for being too old.

A volunteer walks a dog at Battersea Dogs' Home
A volunteer walks a dog at Battersea Dogs' Home

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According to the Daily Express, Spencer Bell, 68, along with three colleagues aged 68, 72 and 71 have all received a letter from their employers advising that they will be "retired" come March 28 next year.

Mr Bell, who has worked for the shelter for 15 years, told the Express: "We have all been thrown on the scrapheap despite the fact that 18 months ago we were told we could continue working for as long as we wanted.

"We are all over the statutory retirement age. My chances of getting another job at my age in the current climate are absolutely zero."

And 72-year-old Alan Burt, who received a certificate marking 20 years of service to the charity less than a year ago, is similarly annoyed.

"I found it quite incredible that one minute I am getting a big thank you and the next they are telling me I have to retire," he said.

The key to these unexplained dismissals lies in a new law due to take effect next October. Presently, employers are well within their rights to retire those over the age of 65 - once the statutory retirement age is scrapped, dismissing staff who turn 65 will not be allowed.

Now age campaigners are concerned that many of the 846,000 working pensioners in Britain could face a similar fate.

But a Battersea spokeswoman denied discriminating against Mr Bell and his colleagues on the basis of age.

"The charity follows its retirement policy, which is in line with the current statutory retirement procedure. We do not make any retirement decisions lightly."

What do you think? Is it unfair to force those over 65 years of age to retire or are they right to make way for younger staff? Leave your comments below...