Retired Secretary Report October 2017
Please see below report from Mick Goldsmith
Report of the NPC Rally/Lobby held on the 18th October 2017. Houses of Parliament.
There was a short rally outside the Houses of Parliament before the NPC meeting took place in Committee Room 14.
The Chair started the meeting at 13:00 and called for a minutes silence in respect of Rodney Bickerstaff the former NPC Chair and Trade Union leader.
The first guest speaker was Kelvin Hopkins MP, convener of the NPC Parliamentary group. His contribution included the fact that Britain has one of the poorest pensioner populations in Europe. The collapse of final salary pension schemes have had an input in falling pensioner prosperity.
He also went onto comment on the squeeze in NHS services and the ongoing long term care for our older generation.
Alex Cunningham MP, the Labour shadow pensions spokesperson spoke about the increase in the Auto Enrolment Pension Schemes becoming popular in the workplace, and where efforts are being made to extend this for low earners.
He mentioned that we should encourage employees to be trustees on pension schemes.
Alex made the point that the Labour Party opposed the increase in the state pension retirement age.
Dr Lydia Hayes from Cardiff University gave a presentation on social care and care funding that should be paid through taxation and not be kept in private hands.
She said that care should be universal. Also that there should be the opportunity for collective bargaining within the care sector to improve working conditions and pay. She felt that care workers were being silenced by government, and that they were underpaid with no power or protection via a trade union.
She mentioned that more and more family members were giving up employment to move into caring for elderly parents. She called for firm action for structural solutions.
Mick Cash the RMT GS spoke to the delegates about the aims to have a safe properly resourced railway, and thanked all for the support the RMT had received during the long running dispute to maintain guards on trains.
Mick also saw no reason why the railways could not be re-nationalised into public ownership, with the monies going into shareholder pockets being used to improve our railways. He made an interesting point. That if other countries are investing in our railways. France, Germany, Holland, China and others, why can’t our own country invest in its own railways.
Sian Errington from Unite presented and promoted ideas where we could unite the generations as there is a growing belief that there is a divide in society between young and old. This was highlighted where the conception of the older generation having the benefits of the triple lock state pension and generous final salary pensions, free bus passes, winter fuel allowances etc, are far better off percentage wise than the young, where it was pointed out that the recovery of wage parity will not arrive until 2021 for low paid workers who have lost out on decent percentage pay rises.
Mike Newton of the UK Mineworkers Pension Association made a very interesting contribution relating to the 200k ex mineworker pensioners still alive not receiving what he considers to be proper pension returns from generated surpluses due to government interventions, this applies to governments of all parties going back to 1987. Hopefully, the distributed fact sheet at the meeting could be made available for those who would take an interest.
There followed a short Q&A session where some delegates raised some questions on the guest delegates presentations, unfortunately most of the guest delegates had departed for other meetings and appointments, however, most were answered.
The meeting closed at 15:00
No meeting until next year
Please see M.Goldsmith report below
Having spoken with Pat Friskey yesterday following our meeting, he is happy for me to send you my observations on what we discussed about Motion 29.
Having felt the frustrations regarding Motion 29 from the delegates at the meeting, a feeling is that we appear to be getting into a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. That is, do we have to resolve in totality what representative roles retired members can have/hold within their branches, before we move forward in the direction retired members will be going on into the future.
We have to accept that recent events on the national level, which included the June General Election, the 4 Pillars campaign, unfortunate personal illnesses and retirements of officers, along with the Re-Design project. This has placed a great deal of strain on the Union.
However, quoting from the front page of the last Link magazine ‘Actively Involved, and Plans for a new dynamic role for retired members’. Those sentiments appear to be a little lukewarm as far as progress is being made, this is also seems the case judging by the comments and feelings of the Regional Retired Members Committee.
Again, it is only on this point alone where criticism can be made, and it would be wrong to say otherwise. Much work outside of this situation is being done by retired members sections in branches everywhere on all sorts of activities where problems for pensioners exist. This would also include the current facilities and benefits afforded to retired members via the CWU.
The Eastern No5 retired members would be grateful, if through the Regional Retired Members Committee. That this matter be raised via the Regional Secretary and RMAC in order that the problem be highlighted. Eastern No5 would also request support form other branches within the region, or if possible their comments.
Pavement parking campaign update
I have asked disability Peterborough, who in turn are passing it on to the Civic mayor John Cox and Blind Dogs Peterborough, to see if they can get a campaign going to persuade the new Cambridgeshire mayor for his backing and surport on this subject.
Could Richard Line write to Dave Joyce and Andy Beeby write to his contacts in HQ, to see if we can get the support from our sponcered MPs to make our pavements safe to walk on.