Never too old to Agitate, Educate and Organise

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2015 National Retired Members Conference
1 June 2015

Conference notes that over 65s are a growing proportion of society. This will have an impact on trades unions in a number of ways since:

1. The workforce will include a growing number of workers for whom retirement gets later and later and who make new organising demands;

2. Retired members will form a growing proportion of the membership of many unions; and,

3. Age predicts voting intention almost as strongly as does social class so how over-65s vote will influence, increasingly, what kind of government we have.

Conference therefore believes that trades unions must get better at engaging with older people. It further believes that UNISON, with the largest and best-organised trades union retired members’ organisation in the United Kingdom is well placed to take a lead.

Conference therefore instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee, seeking the support as need be of the National Executive Council, to:

a. Seek to ensure that the UNISON Charter for Older People, once reprinted, is kept up to date and made widely available as the key piece of material to promote UNISON to retired members, other older members and to older people more widely and to gain their confidence that UNISON has a strategy to help them achieve things that matter to them;

b. Aim to produce a regular electronic bulletin to keep retired members informed of campaigns, resources, research etc which Branch Retired Members’ Groups can include in their programmes and members can take to pensioners’ organisations;

c. Develop strategies to promote retired membership to UNISON members and to promote UNISON to older people and seek to ensure that resources are available to do so;

d. Approach the Labour Link National Committee to discuss whether issues affecting older people get enough of its attention and, if there appears to be a problem, how to overcome it;

e. As far as possible and appropriate, share information with other trades unions, seek opportunities to work together, raise appropriate matters with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) from time to time and re-raise the need for the TUC to develop a stronger pensioners’ organisation; and,

f. Consult the Regional Retired Members’ Committees in Cymru/Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to discuss how their circumstances differ from those in England and how the above points need to be adapted in their respective regions.