Retired Members Page









  Report by Pam King  

I went to the seminar which took place at Congress House. It’s a shame that many of you can’t attend Unison events owing to travelling difficulties, ill health, etc. however I hope to give you an idea of some of the topics covered.
Linda Perks (Regional Secretary for Greater London) provided some of the facts behind the Trade Union Bill which had just passed its second reading (with a majority of 33) – it could be implemented by next April. Under the legislation, the ballot for trade union action would require a 50% turnout of the membership with public sector strikes also requiring the backing of 40% of those eligible to vote – this would make national action impossible. Under current rules, strikes can be called if the majority of those taking part in a ballot vote in favour. The Bill also doubles the amount of notice required for a strike from 7 to 14 days. Employers can use agency workers to replace striking staff. Even more worryingly, a picket line has to have a supervisor whose name and details have to be given to the police – failure to wear the necessary armband could result in fines. Union members are to be balloted on whether to have a political fund every 10 years and every 5 years on the continuation of the affiliated political levy. Linda made the point that shareholders are never balloted on corporate donations to the Tories. This Bill will end the ability of public sector employers to deduct union subs. through wages. When this happened in the Civil Service a year ago, PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) could only sign up two-thirds of its membership. This is a savage attack on the trade union movement and I would urge all who are fit and able to travel to join the TUC mass lobby of Parliament to protect the right to strike, taking place at Westminster on Monday 2nd November at 12.30pm.
The other item of interest was a brief talk by Ann Field from ‘Britain at work’. She highlighted the work her organisation was doing in preserving living testimony from ordinary workers. Via a CD, she demonstrated the power of first-hand accounts from those involved in the Wapping dispute. The website address is Although the end result was undeniably grim, it is hard not to be cheered by the solidarity and integrity of the locked-out workforce and those journalists who supported them.
Hope to see as many of you as possible on 2nd November – my conference report will follow shortly.
Best wishes,
Pam (Retired Members Secretary)


Delegate Report: Iain Raymond.

On the afternoon of 6th October there was a Panel debate and several Discussion Groups. Pam and I decided to split up in order to cover more of what was going on. Pam went to the Panel Debate on TTIP whilst I opted for Social Media Skills.  Later that afternoon we both attended the Greater London Regional Delegates meeting. Just after 5pm we were finished at the conference centre, returning the following day for a full day of conference.

This years conference consisted of many of the motions that seem to appear on the final agenda ad nausea annually.  The usual suspects being State Pensions, Elderly care, Free travel & Travel passes and winter heating allowances etc.  All these issues are very important for retired workers, but both Pam and I felt a strong sense of change from many that we may be retired, but many want to remain involved in the more mainstream  issues facing branches and regions throughout Unison.  

Many delegates reported that their branches don’t have a list of Stewards or officers, and this situation is likely to worsen if the Tory Government get away with their blatant attack on working people by making their Trade Unions pretty much powerless if they get the Trade Union Bill ( or more accurately, the Anti Union Bill) passed in the House of Commons.

Dave Prentis  attended conference as keynote speaker. By coincidence he just happened to speak at Retired Members Conference last time he was up for re-election.  It was clear that his speech was aimed at trying to maximise votes.  He insisted that Retired members had a wealth of experience and skills that branches really need, and called on us all to rally around our respective branches, take up office and help everywhere we can. Pam and I fully agreed, But the General Secretary seemed to ignore the fact that were branches had attempted this retired members had been blocked by regional officials as it was in breach of rules!!!!!
 A minority did feel that only those employed should hold any office in branches, whilst others had gone to the rostrum to confirm that they had been holding various offices in branches for some considerable time. Other branches said that if rules do not change to allow retired members to hold certain offices in branches, many of the branches would face severe difficulties on top of what they already face.  Chair or Treasurer were offered as examples of where retired members could serve the branch without any possible difficulties.  Cymru/Wales had submitted a motion to support such a proposal, but the standing orders committee had ruled it out of order. Both Pam and I had concerns about the number of motions ruled out of order.

Having said that a fair number of motions and particularly composite motions were passed. There was some very emotive debate around dignified ending for the elderly. I was surprised that we did not really get stuck in the the very major issue of the Trade Union Bill, especially after it was agreed that Retired members play a vital role  in activities at branch/regional level. Conference managed to get through 27 of the 37 motions on the original agenda, a number of which ended up as composite motions. Overall a good conference which suggested there is plenty of vitality amongst us.


Other contributions welcome

If there are items which you would like to see or could contribute yourself, please send them to me:

Pam King Retired Members Secretary





The NATIONAL PENSIONERS CONVENTION (NPC) has developed the Dignity Code detailed below. The NPC wants the code to become a nation guideline not only for the care industry but be applied in all aspects of daily life. Unison supports the work of the NPC

Dignity Code

The purpose of this Dignity Code is to uphold the rights and maintain the personal dignity of older people, within the context of ensuring the health, safety and well being of those who are increasingly less able to care for themselves or to properly conduct their affairs.

This Code recognises that certain practices and actions are unacceptable to older people, such as:

  • Being abusive or disrespectful in any way, ignoring people or assuming they cannot do things for themselves
  • Treating older people as objects or speaking about them in their presence as if they were not there
  • Not respecting the need for privacy
  • Not informing older people of what is happening in a way that they can understand
  • Changing the older person’s environment without their permission
  • Intervening or performing care without consent
  • Using unnecessary medication or restraints
  • Failing to take care of an older person’s personal appearance
  • Not allowing older people to speak for themselves, either directly or through the use of a friend, relative or advocate
  • Refusing treatment on the grounds of age


This Code therefore calls for:

  • Respect for individuals to make up their own minds, and for their personal wishes as expressed in ‘living wills’, for implementation when they can no longer express themselves clearly
  • Respect for an individual’s habits, values, particular cultural background and any needs, linguistic or otherwise
  • The use of formal spoken terms of address, unless invited to do otherwise
  • Comfort, consideration, inclusion, participation, stimulation and a sense of purpose in all aspects of care
  • Care to be adapted to the needs of the individual
  • Support for the individual to maintain their hygiene and personal appearance
  • Respect for people’s homes, living space and privacy
  • Concerns to be dealt with thoroughly and the right to complain without fear of retribution
  • The provision of advocacy services where appropriate


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