Inclusion of Retired Members in Branch and Regional SOG Groups

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2007 National LGBT Conference
24 July 2007
Carried as Amended

Following on from the resolutions of our last two conferences urging National Committee to be more proactive concerning retired LGBT members it is still unclear to many exactly how members can remain involved when they retire.

Self Organisation is written into UNISON’s rulebook as a real commitment to overcoming barriers and prejudices faced disproportionately by women, black, disabled and LGBT members.

Retired members’ conferences and meetings reflect the make up of the main membership of the union and are therefore likely to be dominated by the issues of the majority. Members who have previously been involved in LGBT SOG groups and activists who have taken part in major LGBT campaigns may suddenly find themselves feeling much less supported and isolated on their retirement despite continuing to be a member of UNISON.

This past year has seen a major campaign by Unions to try and ensure that pension rights are not eroded and safeguard our members’ financial security on retirement. Older LGBT members can experience real isolation and injustice through the combined prejudices of homophobia and ageism.

Conference welcomes the work already being done to encourage the involvement of LGBT members and raise the profile of LGBT issues in retired members structures. At a time when legislation is being introduced to protect us from ageism and homophobia we should take the lead and allow our members the dignity and pride of continuing to be involved in changing our society for the better through their Union.

Conference believes that it is essential to encourage LGBT members who retire, including those who retire due to ill health, to become actively involved in retired members structures, and that regional and branch LGBT groups also have an important role to play in that work.

The profile of retired members has been raised by the National LGBT Committee through articles in Out In Unison, and this year motions highlighting LGBT retired members’ issues are contained in 2007 Retired Members’ Conference agenda but more needs to be done.

Therefore this Conference calls on National LGBT Committee to continue the work and:

1.Produce a clear set of guidelines by LGBT Conference 2008 outlining exactly what role LGBT retired members can play in the Union and calling on all regions to continue to support members of all ages and all categories of membership except employees of the union;

2.Work with National Retired Members Committee to ensure that they can actively welcome and are aware of the needs of their LGBT members and that they apply UNISON Rules on fair representation.

3.Work with the National Retired Members Committee and with regional and branch groups to encourage LGBT members to become actively involved in retired members structures at all levels