Welcome to our new Retired members resource pages. See the
links on the right for the latest news, resources and links.
About UNISON Retired Members
UNISON works to raise awareness of issues which concern older
people and to influence decision makers. Our priorities include:
- Pensioner poverty
- Health care and age discrimination
- Isolation and mobility issues
Retired and working members have a shared interest
in obtaining decent incomes in older age, a universal health service
and the creation of a civilised society. Today's workers are tomorrow's
pensioners and UNISON's members work in public services on which
many older people rely.
UNISON retired members enjoy all the benefits of
UNISON membership including:
- Legal advice
- Welfare support
- Special discounts and offers on a wide range of financial
and other services
If you've been a UNISON member for at least two
years on the day you retire and have either received state pension
age or get a pension, you can become a retired member.
Scottish Retired Members Conference
Eugene Duffy –Chairperson, opened
Conference 2009 by welcoming all delegates to our Scottish Conference.
He reported to conference on the
work of the Scottish Committee over the last year  and assured
conference that the committee were working hard to promote all
issues surrounding pensions, and care.
He spoke about Post Office closures
and how the campaign about the issue of post cards that was carried
out was successful, and that the Government had backed down over
this due to pressure exerted by campaigning groups.
He emphasised the struggle that
Post Offices are having to keep open, and stressed that we must
continue to keep this important service within the public domain.
There was a minutes silence as
a mark of respect for Jack Jones; to pay tribute to his contribution
as a staunch supporter, and fighter for, all pensioners.
Chair then spoke of the power of
the ‘grey vote’. He said the fight must continue, and we must
be heard. He stressed that delegates must take this message away
from conference with them, and back to their branches.October
will be an important month because there will be a Pensioner Parliament
– See the Person, not the Age. And we must have a presence at
this Conference. He said, now more than ever, we must be aware
of the attacks on pensions and pensioners care, and that we must
defend our rights on all pensioners’ issues.
Living Wills & Power
Jane Lindsay, assisted by Toni
Wong, attended conference on behalf of Thompson’s Solicitors,
to speak on Living Wills and Power of Attorney. Thompson’s had
a stall at Conference with leaflets and information, so that Delegates
could take this back to branches.
The speaker then gave detailed
information on both of those topics, stressing the importance
of getting your requests formally documented whilst you were of
sound mind and body. There was too much information to be detailed
in this report, but the general advice from Jane Lindsay was that
anyone who was interested should get in touch with a solicitor,
and discuss how they would go about setting up Living Will or
Power of Attorney. What the speaker did stress all through her
presentation was that these things should be entered into seriously,
and it was of utmost importance that the correct person to carry
out your requests, on your behalf, be selected.
John McAllion is a former
MP and constant Scottish Campaigner, who is now enjoying retirement.
Although retired, he is still very much involved with pensioner
He started his talk by quoting
a professor of economics who said ‘The future is not what it used
to be’. He went on to tell of a photograph taken in 1945 after
that years’ election, which gave a huge victory to the ordinary
people, and showing huge crowds of people in the City Square in
Dundee [his home town].
He reminded us that was a time
when successive Governments created pensions, and the National
Health Service, and the country flourished. John McAllion compared
then to what has happened now and the effects of Capitalism and
free markets on us all now. He stated that the ordinary man had
been badly let down by Capitalism.
On the subject of Public Sector
Pensions Schemes, he is of the opinion that there is no more of
a brighter future for the Public Sector than anywhere else. They
are in the midst of huge difficulties and there is not enough
money for the pensioners of the future. We have incurred the largest
debt problem in any peace time government in decades. This must
inevitably lead to tax increases and pensions cuts. There is a
massive struggle ahead for the attacks that will be made on pensions
services. This fight must be for a liveable pension above the
poverty line, and keep up with the standards of living. He stressed
that it was crucial that pensioners must stick together whether
their pension is private or public sector.
He stated in his opinion we must
fight for other cuts from such Government projects as the huge
sums of money being spent on [for example] Trident. It is essential
that we involve ourselves with discussion and debate with the
Government; otherwise they will go ahead and make the decisions
without us, and to our cost. We must be part of the larger movement
that encompasses all ages, and keep solidarity.
When asked if the Labour Party
can be won back, Mr McAllion said only if they dissociate themselves
with the values that are now being presented by New Labour.
After a lively question and answer
session, Eugene Duffy thanked John McAllion for attending our
conference and for his frank and inspirational input.
Presentation to Irene Sweeney
[recently retired secretary to Scottish Committee]
Eugene Duffy paid tribute to our
recently retired Secretary to Scottish Committee Irene Sweeney.
He expressed the committees’ thanks and gratitude on behalf of
all the membership to Irene who has given many years as a dedicated
worker in the fight for pensioners, and a sterling secretary to
the Scottish Committee. He concluded by wishing Irene all the
very best on behalf of the Scottish Committee, and the Retired
Chair welcomed Sue Chalmers who
takes over as secretary to Scottish Committee for 2009. Once
again we are fortunate indeed to have a dedicated member of the
committee to fill the important task of Committee Secretary.
Sue was wished well in her new
position on the committee.
A presentation of flowers and gifts
from Scottish Committee Members was made to Irene, on our behalf,
by Lillie MacNaughton.
Chair welcomed our second guest to Conference.
Margo MacDonald was to speak
on her proposed bill on assisted suicide.
Eugene introduced her by first recognising
her contribution to politics and her notable career in Scottish
Parliament, and thanked her for taking time out of her busy schedule
to attend our Conference.
speaker began by stating that the purpose of a Bill or Law on
assisted suicide was to make it legal for the person concerned
to be able to make the choice. She stressed here that the only
person who could make this choice was the person themselves. In
our country, at the moment, choices are left with doctors or carers,
who must sometimes make choices which are illegal and leave these
people open to prosecution.
Margo MacDonald went on to explain that
although the law saying assisting people to die is illegal, there
are grey areas that do not assist in laying down clear guidelines,
but allow only leeway.
The only way in her opinion to discuss this in the Scottish Parliament
is through a Bill. Her Bill would only cover: Degenerate Conditions. Dependency
on others after an accident. Terminal illness.
These are the only groups she would
argue for in physician assisted dying. This bill is about
elderly people; or people who have a mental illness; or dementia
victims. There would be a register of doctors who would volunteer
to assist people.
Our speaker informed Conference
that she is now at the stage of drawing up the Bill with legal
authorities to ascertain the correct course of action.
Margo MacDonald finished by explaining
that even if only a small number of people would take up the use
this Bill, then it is their right to do so.
The question and answer session
that followed proved that this is a subject of concern for us
all, as individuals. There were many questions which are too
many to be reported, but were answered most expertly by the speaker.
Eugene Duffy thanked Margo MacDonald
for explaining so clearly the purposes of her Bill, on what was
clearly an emotive, but extremely important topic. He wished her
well with the Bill’s course through Parliament and thanked her
once again on behalf of Conference.
Eugene introduced our third speaker
It was decided that there be a
brief interlude in the formal proceedings of the day to listen
to Mae, as she recounted some of her memories of a Dundee childhood,
through her writings
This was very well received by
Chair thanked Mae Stewart for her
input into the proceedings.
Items of Interest for
Scottish Retired members
Bowling Tournament – 2009
The tournament will be held at
the Kettle Bowling Club in Fife. Bob Miller thanked Kettle Club
for yet again hosting this day, and said that they gave members
a very warm welcome [and good food], and that the membership was
very happy to continue using this venue.
Bob Miller spoke to Conference
about the annual bowling day that has been held for many years
now and has been proved to be a success year on year, and hoped
that as many as possible would inform their members through their
local branches about this years outing.
Our New Scottish Committee Secretary:
Sue Chalmers spoke about being
the new secretary and the role she would be fulfilling on behalf
of the membership. She spoke about proposed motions to be taken
forward to National Conference this year in Scarborough. Finally
Sue wished Irene Sweeney well in her retirement, and wished all
members good health and well being for the coming year.
Chair Rounds up Conference.
Eugene Duffy [Chair] concluded
by urging delegates to go back to their branches and take the
message from Conference that we must stay at the forefront of
pensioner issues and guard our rights and pensions.
He spoke about the many points
that had been covered by this conference, and asked that we build
contacts between other groups retired, and working, to protect
our wages and pensions.
Eugene Duffy assured Conference
the 2009 committee would work tirelessly towards ensuring that
we are at the forefront of action and communications with anyone
who would assist us to guard our rights and pensions.
We fight on.