Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Motions passed by UCU retired members conference Wednesday 15 November 2017

Motions passed by UCU retired members conference Wednesday 15 November 2017

NB I have omitted some motions that were concerned with internal UCU matters and not included some amendments as I have lost my notes, but my recollection is that these concerned points of detail .
Motion 1              Railway System           
Proposer              Northern & Scottish Retired Members Branch

UCU Retired members note with dismay the effects of this Government’s continued austerity drive, and its support of the disastrous policy pursued by Southern Rail, of allegedly trying to modernise its Railway System at the expense of the most vulnerable travellers. Southern Rail’s abolishment of staff, stations and ticket offices has an adverse effect on older people and those with disabilities. This means in practice, that by abolishing train guards they are removing any vestige of health and safety for the disabled, on both train and platforms. How are the seriously disabled going to get on and off trains? Who is going to provide the assistance for getting wheel chairs on and off trains? What about the many stations that will no longer be staffed? How are the disabled expected to cope with that situation, or will the train driver be expected to help? Of course there will be ticket machines. How will the partially sighted cope; the disabled and older people manage, with this new technology?
Many rail stations have toilets for handicapped people, where you are required to find someone who can give you the key, this can be very difficult for some to achieve. Why can’t we have ‘smart’ train tickets, which could be used to enable travellers to access ‘closed’ toilets on trains and stations? We have noted the series of strikes that have taken place on Southern Railways and fully support the trade Unions involved.
Motion: This AGM of Retired Members Branches notes that the Conservative Government has made cuts to the Rail system, which seriously affects all disabled UCU members, and UCU retired members. We therefore call upon our National Executive Committee to fully support the National Pensioners Convention, and the Rail Unions in their efforts to fight against the closure of stations, and the introduction of driver only trains. The closure of Stations will make it impossible for disabled UCU members and UCU retired members to travel late at night, and even during the day when stations are only ticket machine operated. If Southern Rail win this dispute then all the other train operators will be quick to jump on the band wagon. We also ask that the NEC raise their concerns within the Labour Party and the TUC and seek support to ensure a successful outcome to this very important issue

Motion 2               The Rise in the state Pensions Age
Proposer              Northern Retired Members Branch

This AGM of UCU retired members branches notes with concern the raising of the State Pension Age and supports the campaign against this by the National Pensioners Convention.
We further note that owing to the rise in levels of stress and decline in levels of job-satisfaction, many members of UCU will be forced to stop working, many years before the retirement age officially designated by USS, TPS and our employers.
The consequence of these developments is that there will be an increasing gap between the age at which the State Pension begins and the age at which our members actually cease employment. As a result, retirees will face increasing levels of financial hardship.
This AGM calls on the NEC to develop policies and negotiation strategies designed to improve the USS and TPS pension schemes in order to mitigate the effects of the increase in the State Pension 
We note that many other trade unions in the public sector who have occupational pension schemes, will be similarly affected who therefore urges the NEC to liaise with our sister unions to achieve aims.

Motion 3               Climate Change, Airport Expansion and Fracking
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch

We recognise that the motion on Climate Change passed at this year's TUC makes progress towards UCU retired members resolution 7.6 of our 2016 annual meeting. However, we regret that there is no mention of opposition to fracking or airport expansion. We therefore call upon the UCU NEC to continue to campaign within the trade union movement in support of all the demands raised in UCU Congress 2017 resolution 17: Climate change, jobs and airport expansion.

Motion 4               Universal Benefits
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch
Conference believes that the old age (universal benefit) pension should be paid to all over the age 60 and be equivalent to at least half the average wage or 200 pounds, whichever is the greater. Conference commits to the defence of the triple-lock. Conference notes that to achieve this will take a number of years and the first step should be the increase of the present pension by a yearly increase of RPI + 2%. Conference therefore resolves for UCU to express our view on the relevant bodies.

Motion 5               Support for research-active retired members
Proposer              London Retired Members Branch
Recognising that many retired members wish to continue with their research or conduct research for which they did not have time due to pressures of work while they were employed, calls upon UCU to do all it can to secure access to facilities such as libraries and email for retired academic staff. This would also be in the interests of their previous institutions although many are too stupid to see this.

Motion 7               NHS
Proposer              West Midlands Retired Members Branch
This Retired Members AGM deplore the government's funding attack on the NHS and the consequent pressure on Trusts to abandon the NHS founding principles.  For example, Shropshire has declared that the planned reconfiguration of two hospitals is for the "greatest good for the majority": utilitarianism has replaced universalism despite Para 14T of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

We deplore the consequent limitations on access and especially the negative impact on retired people.

We urge retired members' branches to engage in local campaigning to protect the NHS.

We request UCU head office to set up a national web-based forum to assist all branches to work on national NHS campaigns using College and University campuses to promote the importance of a universal health service.

We call on the NEC to pay the £500 to affiliate to the Health Campaigns Together pressure group.

Motion 10            Raising of the State Pension Age
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch

This meeting notes that:
•        the proposed raising of the State Pension Age will present financial difficulties for many UCU members retiring some years before receiving a State Pension
•        many workers in all areas of employment, especially those with inadequate occupational pensions, or no other pension, as well as those who are willingly or unwillingly unemployed will face the same difficulties many years before reaching the State Pension age.
•        The raising of the State Pension Age will add to pressures to raise the qualifying age for occupational pensions.
•        many workers in precarious employment are particularly dependent on the state pension because they have little opportunity to accrue a decent quality occupational pension.
It therefore calls for UCU to support the NPC campaign against raising the SPA, and to work actively in the TUC to raise wider awareness of these issues among existing workers, awareness of the risk of poverty in old age and to develop a campaign with all other unions.

Motion 11            Supporting the NPC Pensioners’ Manifesto
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch  

This meeting calls on UCU to agree to support the NPC Pensioners Manifesto:
• A state pension set above the official poverty level, around £200 a week and linked to the triple lock of the higher of earnings, prices or 2.5%.

• Greater funding for the NHS, an end to privatisation in the health service and a national social care system funded from general taxation, free at the point of delivery and without means-testing.

• Maintenance of universal pensioner benefits such as free bus travel, a £500 winter fuel allowance, free prescriptions and a free TV licence for the over 75s.

• More homes that are both affordable and suitable for everyone, whilst recognising the specific barriers to downsizing that older people face.

• New legal protection for older people from all forms of elder abuse, to ensure dignity and raise standards of care.

• A Brexit deal that safeguards the payment of pensions, protects EU care workers and the rights of UK pensioners living abroad.

Motion 12            Discussion of extending the Equality Act 2010 to include single people as a protected group
Proposer              Yorkshire & Humberside Retired Members Branch  

 This meeting notes:
•        Under the Equality Act 2010 married people and people in civil partnerships are protected from discrimination on grounds of marital status, but single people are not.
•        Therefore it is still lawful to treat single people less favourably than married people and those in civil partnerships.
•        That lack of legal protection can give scope for expression of negative attitudes towards single people.
•        As people become older, they are more likely to spend a period of their lives as single people as a result of bereavement.
•        That if health and social care services are organised on the assumption that people have or ought to have a ‘next of kin’ family member who can look after them in periods of illness and disability, this disadvantages single people.
•        That there are various forms of existing discrimination against single people, such as single person supplements charged by holiday firms often for inferior accommodation.
•        That the current discussion of loneliness as a health problem, while valid in itself, could foster negative stereotypes of the lives of single people, especially if there is a confusion between ‘loneliness’ and ‘living alone’.
This meeting calls upon UCU to discuss in its Equality Committee and any other relevant bodies the case for extension of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 to include single people, so that they too are protected from discrimination on grounds of marital status.

No comments: