RETIRED MEMBERS AGM REPORT & FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER
This report and newsletter reflects on what has happened in the past 12 months, and possibly what we have to look forward to in the coming months.
Firstly, my thanks must go to all who have supported me during the past months, right through from the Branch Officers and Committee, to the Retired Members who have assisted with the circulation of our newsletters. Also to all Retired Members who have given their input on how we can improve on Retired Membership and pensioner issues.
My personal thanks also to Dick Hewlett for his support and input, and finally, on behalf of the Branch, our best wishes to Pat Friskey and Mick Shill and thanks for all the hard work put in on our behalf.
The following items are for information, but will be open for debate and discussion at the Branch AGM on the 24th of February if you are coming.
Whatever personal preferences people made on Brexit, I don’t think it has portrayed democracy, politics or politicians in a very good light. I’ll leave it there, for as we speak, March the 29th has yet to arrive, and I suspect there are still many stop and start miles to go. Only then will we some idea of what the future holds.
UNIVERSAL PENSIONER BENEFITS
Although we are still in receipt of these benefits, there is pressure being brought to bear by some local authorities relating to the bus pass taking into account central government grants reducing year on year. We will continue the campaign to protect allthese benefits.
Women against state pension inequality. This is a voluntary UK based organisation, working to achieve fair transitional state pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s, affected by the changes to the state pension laws.
There is an ongoing judicial review, but it is an issue we should support, and continue to support until its conclusion.
SOCIAL CARE FUNDING
This is a quotation from an NPC (National Pensioners Convention) circular.
‘The Unfairness of Social Care Funding’ ‘Everyone accepts that the social care system is in crisis, yet the government has delayed a Green Paper on the subject a staggering 6 times. Meanwhile, many older people and their families are struggling with a complicated and unfair means-tested system which treats them all differently’
As always, the argument will continue to be made around the ‘ageing population’ scenario, but as the quotation states, older people and their families are struggling with this issue. Perhaps there should be a call for an integrated NHS/Social care system to be introduced?
TV LICENSES FOR THE OVER 75s
This will still be a debatable subject until the conclusions of the BBC’s consultation exercise have been completed in February 2019. You can help as a Retired Member, or as a relative of an over 75 to enter the debate by going online to https://bbcconsultation.traverse.org.uk/ which will guide you to the questionnaire page giving you opportunity to have a say.
Or you can complete the enclosed letter, which details the arguments for the retention of the free license for the over 75’s, and then post it to your local MP.
Again there are many organisations that are a vital link to pensioners and highlight many of the problems being faced, such as avoiding scams, personal home security, how to access benefit claims for O.A.P’s, how we can tackle loneliness and many more. Age UK, the Salvation Army, and local Citizens Advice Bureaux’s has much of this information, and are well worth investigating. The CWU has information via their website on the Retired Members page, and also via the Retired Members supplementary issued with the Voice, this will include information on your pension, and how you can contact Union line for some legal advice.
CWU. NATIONAL. REGION. BRANCH
The Re-design conference last November has now concluded the financial and organisational framework for the Union which will be completed by way of the necessary rule changes which will be made at Annual Conference in April.
Hopefully, the Eastern Region will endorse a proposed motion from the Regional Retired Members Committee to go forward to Annual Conference which will enable the Retired Members at the national level to be properly and equally represented at Region and National level.
At the Branch level, Chris Hunt has proposed two motions to go forward to Annual Conference, one which could allow the widow/widower/partner of a former Retired Member to retain a form of membership with the union which currently isn’t possible. The second relates to a continuation of being a Retired Member without having to re-apply on retirement. Hopefully, both will be supported, butunfortunately, we cannot accept postal or proxy votes, you will have to attend the AGM if you would like to support them.
Although we are Retired Members, we cannot vote tostrike on all of the problems in the outside world we face up to. What we can do is to continue to protest where and when we can in order to get our points across. I think we will have to strengthen our partnerships with the Labour party, the TUC and all other like–minded organisations sympathetic to OAP’s, so that we can be treated with dignity and respect, remembering the full working life financial investments we have made through our NI and Income Tax contributions.
We shall organising a future Retired Members meeting soon. Please do not hesitate to contact me through the Branch office if you think I can be of assistance.