CWU Retired Members Conference 2017

Manchester 19th January

The CWU annual retired members conference this year was held at the Mechanics Institute in Manchester and was attended by over 100 delegates from across the UK, including delegates from Northern Ireland, and of course the Retired Members Advisory Committee (RMAC) Pic: Conference Top Tablemembers attended and spoke on the propositions.

There were nine propositions up for debate.

Of those that were carried and becoming RMAC policy, two were chosen via delegates ballot to be submitted to this year's CWU's national conference.

The conference guest speaker was North West MP Debbie Abrahams representing Oldham East & Saddleworth who is also Labours Shadow Secretary of State for Works and Pensions. It was as shadow Secretary of State that she spoke to the conference. Her speech can be watched here

Below you can read the motions debated and select the video of the debate to watch.

Apologies for the sometimes movement of the camera. We hope it does not put you off enjoying the speeches.

Motion 1

Conference instructs the Retired Advisory Committee to work with the NEC to lobby this present government to get the Care Act that was passed in May 2014 running as it should be.

South and East Thames Amal
watch video

Motion 2

This Conference notes that 9.3 million households are headed by a person over retirement age and that this figure is projected to grow to 13 million during the lifetime of this generation.

Conference agrees that elderly people need secure and affordable housing and that the Housing and Planning Act of 2016 will lead to more insecure tenancies in council properties, forcing more elderly people into the rented private, sector with even less security.

Conference supports the position of the Labour Party to repeal the Housing and Planning Act and calls on the RMAC to make representation to the NEC to work with all interested groups to highlight the dangers of this Act for elderly people and to campaign for its repeal.

Retired Members Advisory Committee
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Motion 3

This Conference is concerned with the pace of closures of local accident and emergency centres and hospitals. Barely a week goes by without media stories of people left waiting for hours in waiting rooms.

Conference agrees that this is not the fault of the excellent, dedicated hard working staff, but rather a failing of leadership from the government and their austerity led cuts agenda.

Furthermore conference believes that the closure of local A&E centres disproportionately hurts pensioners and the elderly who will struggle more than most to attend far flung centralised A&E centres. This would have the consequence of putting further strains on the ambulance service and more elderly people will requires ambulances when previously they could have attended their local centre.

Conference agrees that this is part of the death by a thousand cuts political attack on our NHS.

Conference instructs the RMAC to work with the NEC, and other sympathetic health charities to campaign against the cuts to these centres and to provide widespread A&E provision for all.

Retired Members Advisory Committee watch video

Motion 4

This Conference notes that in the 2016 Autumn Statement the Chancellor Philip’ Hammond declared that the ‘Triple Lock‘ for State Pensions would be reviewed prior to the next general election due in 2020. This co-insides with a report from the Government Work and Pensions Committee that the Triple Lock be scrapped as it is unsustainable and unfair on younger people.

The triple-lock is a system that guarantees State pensions rise by the same as average earnings, the consumer price index, or 2.5%, whichever is the highest.

Conference agrees that with low inflation and higher earnings the “Triple Lock” allows Pensioners to “catch—up" on their State Pensions must be defended and maintained.

Conference agrees that the RMAC will work with the NEC to Campaign with the Labour Party, the NPC, the TUC and other organisations to defend the “Triple Lock” and maintain the commitment during the next Parliament.

Retired Members Advisory Committee watch video

Motion 5

Conference recognises the continued under—funding of our NHS. Our National Health Service is at breaking point. On the backdrop of gross underfunding and continued cuts and closures of NHS services, private companies seek to gain even more of a foothold within the NHS.

Continued pay restraint has seen the value of NHS staff salaries reduce by 14% since 2010 and there are now 25,000 nursing and 3,500 midwifery vacancies in NHS England alone. This is aggravated by the underfunding and privatisation operating within the social care structure.

Conference agrees that the RMAC will work with the NEC to Campaign through the Labour Party, the National Pensioners Convention, the Trades Union Congress and other organisations to mobilise for the national demonstration in London on 4th March which has been organised by Health Campaigns Together.

We believe the time has come to demonstrate the breadth and depth of support for the NHS and anger and opposition to the destructiveness of Tory policies.

Coventry watch video

Motion 6

This conference recognises that retired members of the CWU have concerns with the “value for money" they currently receive for their membership subscription. This conference instructs the RMAC to lobby the NEC for either;
1. A decrease in the monthly subscription for retired members
2. A greater number of benefits are made available to retired members.

Either of these options to be achieved whilst maintaining current entitlements.

South Wales watch video

Motion 7

This Conference views with deep concern the unilateral decision of the NEC to abolish the right of CWU Retired Members to vote for their Branch Officers, a right that has existed in this Union for 21 years since the merger of the Unions.

The decision was imposed without any prior consultation with Branches or the RMAC and is not compatible with a Union that prides itself on opposing all forms of discrimination on age, promotes itself on proportionality and fair representation of all members and deals with Equality, Proportionality and fair representation of all members in
Branches. Regretfully the NEC decision does not reflect the rules of the CWU.

Therefore Conference agrees to instruct the RMAC to use all means and work with the NEC to seek a commitment from them to submit a Rule change to Annual Conference that restores the right of Retired Members to vote for their Branch Officers as listed in National Rule 6.4.2.

Greater Mersey and South West Lancs
watch video

Motion 8

This Conference agrees that the imposed changes to the Branch Model Constitution issued in LTB 664/16 are undemocratic and stifles the voting rights of retired members in Branch Elections.

This conference therefore seeks that a ‘Special Report‘ be produced by last Friday, prior to the close of motions to General Conference 2017.

This report will include an explanation as to the imposed changes to the Branch Model Constitution in respect of the voting rights of retired members, and how the retired members now sit within the CWU structure, this list is not exhaustive.

The RMAC are instructed to work with the NEC accordingly.

Eastern No.5
watch video

Motion 9

This Conference instructs the RMAC to ask the NEC if they will request the CWU’s General Secretary and the President to publish to the Union's Membership the reasons and rational behind LTB664/16 REVISED BRANCH MODEL CONSTITUTION and the additional note to be inserted at the foot of paragraph 4.4 that states that Retired Members are not entitled or eligible to stand for election or be able to vote in the above elections (a) to (I)

Midland Regional Retired Members Committee
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End Of Conference Speeches:

Tony Kearns responds to the passing of Motion 7 - watch video

Dave Ward, General Secretary, end of Conference comments - watch video

You can also watch the speeches from Dave Ward, General Secretary, Tony Kearns Deputy General Secretary, and guest speaker Debbie Abrahams Shadow Secretary of State For Work and Pensions via the links above.

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