Inclusive Communication for Older People

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2014 National Retired Members Conference
12 June 2014
Carried as Amended

This Conference notes with concern that retired people who are not on line and are unable to access the internet can be significantly disadvantaged both economically and socially. They are unable to take advantage of deals on, for example, fuel and transport and are deprived of services that are accessible solely on line. They are also excluded from many social, educational and cultural communications. This can create and compound the isolation and vulnerability experienced by many older people.

Conference also notes with concern the stigmatisation in the mass media of older people who do not have access to the internet (often because they cannot afford to purchase and maintain a computer) as “incompetent” and “baffled” by technology, thus attempting to blame them for their own exclusion by others.

Conference believes that everyone has the right to participate fully in the life of their unions, their communities and in the wider society and to have access to all services and communications they need for their health, well-being and daily life through media channels that are available to them. It further believes that exclusion from access to communications is a form of discrimination that disproportionately affects older people and that this may be compounded by a number of factors, including disability and living in rural areas.

National Retired Members Conference therefore calls upon the National Retired Members’ Committee to campaign to:

1. raise awareness of these issues within UNISON, the trade union movement and in the wider society

2. resist all moves to make access to goods, services, benefits and social communications available only via the internet

3. counter the stereotyping of older people as self-isolated and incompetent communicators

4. work with the National Pensioners Convention and other relevant bodies to further these ends.