Report on the NPC Biennial Conference 2017

Pic: Rod DowningReporting on the National Pensionsers Convention, Rod Downing from CWU's Retired Members Advisory Committee, provides us with a report on the decisions taken, and main issued raised:

The President Ron Douglas welcomed delegates and observers to the conference at the Yarnfield Park Conference Centre.

Dot Gibson General Secretary

In her final address as Secretary of the NPC Dot Gibson said, it is time for a younger member of the NPC to take over the reins. The NPC need to have continuity and renewal, and I’m sure that the new general secretary will achieve this with the help and support from you all.

She went on to say, we need to encourage others to come into the fold to help the organisation to move forward. She thanked the Regional Secretaries and their committees for all the work that they carry out on behalf of the NPC.

Pic: Dot GibsonOn the Pensioners Parliament she said, it is not a decision making conference, but it give pensioners the opportunity to put forward your concerns on what affect you in your areas.

The Trade Unions were responsible for setting up the NPC, we are asking the trade unions to take up the fight for a decent state pension for all. The auto enrolment is not the answer as it will never give members a decent pension.

The National Officer of the TUC will meet on a regular basis with the National NPC Officers and work to ensure that through the generations united forge links with the younger generation groups.

Constitutional Motions and Amendments

Motion 1  This motion proposed a change to the name of the NPC by changing the word Convention to Campaign.

This motion was not carried

Motion 2 This recommendation from the NEC was to change to numbers of members organisations need to qualify for National Membership of the NPC. This would require an organisation to have a minimum membership of 5000. Subject to acceptance by the National Council.

There were four amendment submitted to this motion none of which were carried. 

The Motion was carried un-amended

 
Motion 3 This Motion submitted by the NEC dealt with the numbers of delegates and voting rights at the Biennial Conference  as follows:-

National Organisations

5000-18,000   members - 2 delegates.
18,000-40,000 members - 3 delegates.
40,000 members and over -4 delegates.

NPC Regions and NPC devolved national groups. -

1 delegate per 1000 up to a maximum of 4 delegates.

NPC elected officers shall attend as voting members.

Full or Part time members may attend as ex-official, non-voting members.

The Motion was carried

Motion 4 fell with the carriage of motion 3

Motion 5 This was a motion that asked for a new clause under membership which put forward a procedure for members who have been deemed to have brought the organisation into disrepute if they publicly libel or slander the organisation, or any official. It also listed a number of other offences such as disrupting meetings of the organisation, offensive language, or misuses the organisations funds.

In the debate that followed it was pointed out that many of the items listed would need legal advice to prove such cases.

The Motion was not carried

Motion 6 This motion wanted to change the way in which Motions submitted to the National council between Biennial Conferences are dealt with.

This was not carried

Motion 7 On conduct of business of the Biennial conference the Executive; proposed a change to the wording of submission to the Annual Report to the Biennial Conference. This included replacing the wording of Reports from regions, to on work of the NPC.

It also said change the words Elect Auditors, to read Appoint Auditors.

The motion also changed the rule governing the appointment of honorary life Members. This deleted the word President and inserted officers who may attend all meetings and also Ex-officio.

The Motion was carried

Motion 8 The executive Committee proposed a change to the procedure for the election of the Standing orders Committee. The Standing Orders committee be elected at a meeting prior to the Biennial Conference.

The Motion was Not Carried

Motion 9 This motion referred the eligibility delegates attending the Biennial conference. This was to include devolved national groups.

The Motion was carried

Motion 10 Motion added a clause that would allow the National Executive to fill any casual vacancy during the term of office.

The Motion was carried

Motion 11 The motion requested that the National Pensioners Parliament take place during the same week as the Biennial Conference. It was pointed out that this would be impractical as it would involve finding a venue.

The Motion was not carried

Motion 12 This proposed changes to the dates for submission of Motions and amendments of motions to the conference. Motions to be submitted 15 week prior to conference. Amendments to Motions 13 weeks.

The Motion was carried

Motion 13 This motion revised the wording of the Rule governing submission of motions to the National Council and the Executive Committee as appropriate for decision. All motions must be received at the national office at least 28 days before the meeting. Changes to the constitution may not be submitted, which shall be dealt with at the Biennial Conference.

The Motion was carried

Policy Motions for the BDC

National Issues

Motion 1 This motion concerned the effects of the Brexit and how it may affect the Pensioners. It called upon the General Secretary to write to the Secretary of State asking that he ensures that, amongst other issues of concern to older people, there is no detriment to pensioners as a consequence of leaving the EU. The list included Universal Pension Benefits, The Triple Lock, and Health Protection for UK pensioners holidaying in the EU, Staffing levels to provide Social & Health Care.

The motion called for the NPC to work with other organisations in pursuit of these goals.

The Motion was carried

Devolution

Motion 2 This recommendation from the NEC was to change to numbers of members organisations need to qualify for National Membership of the NPC. This would require an organisation to have a minimum membership of 5000. Subject to acceptance by the National Council.

There were four amendment submitted to this motion none of which were carried. 

The Motion was carried un-amended

Older People’s Commission

Motion 3 The motion asked conference to welcome Jeremy Corbyn's commitment to establish an Older Peoples Commission. To prepare a programme of reforms required to meet the needs of older people. The motion also said that we will engage in its consideration on items such as;-

•          A living state pension that take pensioners out of Poverty.
•          To seek the reversal of the cuts to social care budgets.
•          To reject calls to end or means test the free TV licence.

In supporting the Older People’s Commission we must commit ourselves to campaign alongside all workers, their families, and students to establish a just and equal society.

The Motion was carried

People’s Assembly

Motion 4 The motion called upon the NPC to affiliate to the People’s Assembly in order to fight against austerity, and to encourage regions and branches to get involved at local level.

The Motion was carried

Section 2: NPC Organisations

Motion 5 Wessex Region called upon the NPC to consider holding the National Council and the National Executive meetings on the same day and at the same venue on the two National Council Dates. The aim was to reduce the cost of travel for the Regional Delegates to these meeting.

The Motion was not carried

Section 3 Pensions and Related Issues

Motion 7 The motion noted the attack on the Triple Lock by the institute of Economic Affairs and the Institute of Fiscal studies urging the government to scrap it. It also noted a Report from the Government Actuary Department adding fears the government would scrap the commitment.

The motion called for the NPC to campaign through the Labour Party, the TUC and other organisations to defend the Triple Lock and maintain the commitment during the life of this and the next Parliament.

The Motion was carried

Pension Protection

Motion 8 & 9 These motions raised the concerns over the plight of the individuals that have lost their workplace pension through the action of individuals such as Philip Green.

The system that allows companies to avoid going into receivership by packaging a sale to a known bankrupt for £1 is an absolute injustice.

It called upon the NPC to join with the TUC and the Labour Party and others to call for legislation to ensure that pensions are not placed behind shareholders if a company gets into financial difficulties.

The Motions were carried 

Motion 10 This was a long and complex motion which dealt with the issue of the calculation used for the uprating of Pensions.

The main part of the motion called upon the NPC to campaign for the inflation index used to upgrade pensions and benefits to be an index whose data sources are based on the principles laid down in the Household Inflation Index, as described by Austin and Leyland in their paper "Towards a Household Inflation Index".

There was two amendments which said that RPI should be used whilst campaigning.

The Motion was carried as amended

Motion 11 This motion instructed the National Executive to take all appropriate steps to try to ensure that any government proposals to merge National Insurance and Income Tax do not adversely  affect the financial position of Pensioners.

The Motion was carried

Motion 12 This called upon the Executive Council to initiate a campaign to oppose the imposition of STPs without scrutiny by members of a democratically elected councillors and patient representative organisations.

Due to the wording of the motion it was agreed that this motion would be remitted

Motion 13 Due to the Chancellors lack of response to the crisis in both the NHS and local authority social care, the NPC should launch a national campaign urging all our affiliates and individual members to raise these issues with National and local political parties, through petitions and by whatever means possible.

There was an amendment which raised the point that the Government decision to allow councils to increase council tax to help pay for social care which will be totally insufficient for councils to deal with current needs. This increase will affect the least well off including many pensioners.

The Motion was carried as amended

Motion 14 The motion reaffirmed the call for a National Health Service and Social Care Service funded from taxation and free at the point of need. Given damage that has been done to the NHS by private provision, the conference calls on EC to step up the campaign for an NH&SC service funded by general taxation.

The Motion was carried

I have tried to give a report that refers to the main issues debated at this conference.  I realise that without having the constitution to hand and my publishing all the motions in full it may be difficult to fully follow changes to the constitution. 

Should you have any questions on any item please contact me.

Also please note that motions in this report have been abridged, but I have tried to give the main issues raised.

Source: Pics - C.Ingram / CWU Publicity


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