Retaining LGBT Members when They Retire

Back to all Motions

2014 National LGBT Conference
31 July 2014

When UNISON was founded it had about 50,000 retired members. Now it has about 166,000, more than one eighth of total membership. This number and proportion is likely to continue to grow.

Retired members therefore form a growing part of the organising agenda. In particular, conference believes that the purposes of self-organisation in Rule D.4.2 apply, with due alteration of details, to retired members and that self-organised groups (SOGs) have a role to help retain relevant members when they retire and encourage them to remain or become active in the union.

Conference welcomes the new issue of Organising for Equality, UNISON’s guidance on Self-Organisation, with its message that SOGs must be inclusive and making clear they must include, among others, retired members and support them to take part in the UNISON retired members’ organisation.

Conference notes the initiative in the West Midlands this year where the retired members’ committee and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members’ group worked together to hold a seminar during LGBT History Month. Also it congratulates the West Midlands retired members’ committee on its decisions to add Black, disabled, LGBT and women’s places to its committee and to seek to include in each year’s programme a piece of joint work with one of the SOGs.

Conference also notes that since 2009, the programme of UNISON retired members’ conference has included Black, disabled, LGBT and women’s caucuses and that an informal network of retired LGBT UNISON members has grown from the LGBT caucus.

Conference instructs the national LGBT committee to seek information from each region on:

1. Whether retired members take part in LGBT self-organisation;

2. Whether there are links between the LGBT group and the retired members’ committee and examples of joint work;

3. How the LGBT group helps retain and activate retired members;

4. How it ensures UNISON has a strong and dynamic presence among pensioners and how it promotes UNISON’s equality agenda among them;

and what helps and what hinders (1) to (4) above with a view to establishing arrangements to share and promote good practice and to develop national networking of retired LGBT members.