Ageing Well in UNISON

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2014 National Retired Members Conference
11 June 2014

Conference recognises that one of the factors to account for the growth of UNISON’s Retired Members’ Organisation is growing longevity. While this mainly consists of existing members growing older there are also instances of former members taking up retired membership many years after they left work.

Conference asserts that longevity is an asset not a liability and we must ensure the wellbeing of older people and enlist their participation in our union so we all benefit from their knowledge and ability.

Conference notes that:

1. Older pensioners tend to be less well off than younger pensioners;

2. Older pensioners are more likely to be disabled and/or to be caring for a disabled spouse or partner; and,

3. Older pensioners are more likely to have been widowed, to live alone, no longer to have friends or relations living nearby and to report sometimes feeling lonely which may be a risk factor for poor mental and physical health.

Conference is concerned that UNISON remains responsive to the needs and aspirations of all its members. It therefore instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee, collaborating with the National Executive Council or others as need be, to investigate whether UNISON serves Retired Members of all ages equally well and to report to next year’s conference with proposals and recommendations.

Its investigation should include but need not be restricted to as many as possible of the following:

A. Take-up of learning services particularly computer skills;

B. Applications to UNISON Welfare and their outcomes analysed by age;

C. Take-up of UNISONPlus services, whether members continue to find these services relevant as they get older and, if appropriate, the scope to introduce new services;

D. Whether UNISON should signpost members to services such as AgeUK’s befriending services;

E. How to seek to ensure that there are positive images of members of all ages in appropriate UNISON publicity and that of partner organisations;

F. How to promote and share good practice in regions and branches; and,

G. Considering whether UNISON’s internal monitoring, at least for this conference and for the committee, should have an extra older age-band.

Conference urges UNISON Branch Retired Members’ Groups to:

I. Review their practices in the above respects with a view to sharing good practice via Regional Retired members’ Committees, and,

II. Consider surveying views of older members and sharing results so these can form part of the national review.