Because the conference was held in a remote form it lacked the atmosphere and excitement normally experienced at this annual event. However, it was clear that considerable effort had been involved in organising the occasion. Front and back of house on the day were top rate, with only occasional technical hitches.
Three members of our section’s committee attended. Diana Barnes, Ange Cleife and myself. We had submitted six motions for the conference agenda. Four were accepted and two rejected. Rejected motions:
- Request that a national award be made to members who gave exceptional service to Unison (perhaps a badge or brooch).
- Advocating that the National Executive Council make a rule change allowing retired members to have two elected representatives on the NEC. Currently we have no representation. Following rejection of this motion I appealed, but it was again rejected.
The motions accepted were moved by Hampshire delegates. All four of our motions were approved by majority vote of the conference. These were:
- Criticism and request for review of the 25 pence per week additional pension paid to those pensioners eighty years or above, which has not been updated for many years.
- For physical reasons the journey to conference is impossible for some members. We advocated a live stream so that individuals or groups could watch proceedings. We had done some research on the practicalities and cost of doing this, which we shared with conference.
- We opposed the rush to paperless administration by organisation and companies. Some pensioners have no technical knowledge or the finance to support computer use. We stressed the importance of continued paper communication for those who require it.
- We expressed our disappointment at the lack of leadership from the National and our Regional committees during what has been a very difficult period for pensioners. It was from the National Pensioners Convention and the TUC that we obtained campaigns and leadership. The National Chairman replied to this motion, giving her reasons to counter our complaints. In reply to this I said we were unable to withdraw our criticism and were glad the issue would be the subject of a review. In addition, I told conference of Hampshire’s plans to get a rule change allowing retired members to sit on the NEC.
Some of the other motions approved were pensioner poverty, gender pension gap, access to GP services, review of care services and ageism in the Covid age.
If you are able to follow events on the internet or in the recent newsletter you will know that the Retired Members Section in Hampshire is a lively group. If you would like to attend one of our meetings or be involved in the social events we hope to arrange next year, please contact the Branch Office or our Secretary Ange Cleife (email@example.com)
Best wishes as always,
Chair, Hampshire Unison Retired Members Section
27 October 2021