Unison’s retired members reflect growing anger

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Unison’s retired members conference met in Southport from 1-2 October, and the debates reflected the growing anger of older people.

The proposals to scrap free television licences for over-75s, to extend the point at which the winter fuel allowance can be claimed, and to subject the state retirement pension to national insurance contributions were all roundly condemned.

Several speakers pointed out that pensioner poverty in the UK is a major problem already, and that these measures will make it worse. For the second successive year the conference voted against participation in the ‘Helpforce’ volunteer scheme in the NHS. This was after the leadership had reintroduced an amended version onto the agenda, which was unfortunately endorsed by Unison’s health service group leadership.

But delegates were adamant that they were not prepared to back the idea of Unison’s retired members becoming an unpaid NHS workforce, and overwhelmingly rejected the proposal.

Roger Bannister