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2011 Retired Members' Conference
7 June 2011

Conference welcomes and endorses that it is among UNISON’s aims to seek to ensure equality of treatment and fair representation for all members and their right to be treated with dignity and respect.

UNISON and the former partner unions recognised long ago that this needs more than goodwill and that there must be clear arrangements in the union to:

i. Enable groups of members to meet among themselves, establish their own priorities and elect their own representatives; and,

ii. Provide a broad balance of representation taking into account, among other things, the numbers of women and men, race, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity.

Conference believes that the UNISON Retired Members’ Organisation has been confused and half-hearted about this.

It notes, for example, that:

i. Documents for Retired Members’ Conference in 2009, 2010 and 2011 have each included the heading “Proportionality and Fair Representation” followed by a paragraph setting out requirements to achieve proportionality (which concerns women and men) but ignoring fair representation (which concerns, among other factors, race, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity);

ii. Only since 2009 have Retired Members’ Conference included, as part of their programmes, caucuses where Black Members, Disabled Members, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Members and Women Members can meet among themselves but:

a. The initial conference bulletin (issued in April or May) continues to contain no information about them;

b. There are no arrangements to explain their purpose and encourage members to attend or to introduce or chair them; and,

c. There is no opportunity for them to report either to the conference or to the National Retired Members’ Committee.

iii. Conference delegates are asked to complete monitoring forms in line with practice throughout UNISON but the results of this monitoring appears not to be reported and the information gathered appears not to be used for anything at all; and,

iv. The monitoring form used at the 2010 conference appeared to suggest that members, once they retire, may no longer take part in the Self-organised Groups which is misleading and contrary to Rule D4.

Conference instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to seek the advice of the National Executive Council and of each of the Self-organised Group National Committees on how Retired Members’ Organisation can contribute more successfully to UNISON achieving its aims in this respect and to report with proposals to next year’s Conference.