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2014 National Retired Members Conference
24 June 2014

Conference acknowledges that after the narrow defeat on a card vote of motion 32 at last year’s conference the issue of the structure of Retired Members Conference needs to be looked at in more depth.

In recent years Conference has allowed more time for debate of motions at the beginning of the agenda often to the detriment of those near the end. As a result at the last few Conferences the Standing Orders Committee have sought and been granted a reduction in speaking time for the afternoon session. This has significantly impacted those motions further down the agenda which includes those to do with arrangements for Conference as well as other retired members’ issues and other important topics. This seems to be inherently inequitable and not give comparable debating time to later motions.

One way for Conference to address this imbalance would be for all delegates to be more disciplined and restrict seemingly endless debate on motions with no opposition, or for the President who chairs Conference, to do this on our behalf. But this latter option would probably be seen as too prescriptive and therefore not viable.

Either way Conference agrees that we need to deal with this matter as a priority and to try and come up with a way of allowing adequate debate on all the motions on the agenda rather than just those that heard in the morning session.

One obvious suggestion would be to rejig the first afternoon where currently we have workshop sessions and replace them with expert speakers on relevant topics and/or commence debate on motions at this time. Given that with the current arrangements all delegates cannot attend workshops as there are insufficient places, those who are denied attendance are effectively disenfranchised from this aspect of Conference. A new arrangement would address this inequity at the same as offering more debating time. Thus Conference would officially start after the Caucus meetings.

Conference therefore instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to:

1. Work with the NEC and other relevant bodies to explore ways of extending Conference business and debating time without extending the length of Conference so that delegate participation is fair and there is a balance between respecting all motions and focussing debate and further discussion on the issues of most concern to retired members, where action by the NRMC and members across the union is a priority;

2. Report back on progress to National Retired Members Conference 2015.