Mid Term General Meeting January 2019 Print E-mail


UNISON Eastern Region Retired


Mid Term General Meeting January 2019

2019 A Year for Change

That 2019 is a year of change is obvious to all, but let it be a year for

the changes we can make as active participants in the political and

social situation. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of all the

political changes and pressures is that there is an increasing division

and hostility towards those who do not agree with wholeheartedly,

and Divide, Simplify and Scapegoat and have been the tools and

weapons of dictators and oligarchs throughout the ages, but only

friendly dialogue with those whom we see as the opposition, can

make the positive and always gradual changes that can reunite us.

Young workers today can see fewer positive opportunities than we could at

their age, have more debts as higher education is no longer free, but little

certainty that they will be able to follow their chosen career where they

choose to live, and make their life and family. Generational Fairness has

the right ring to it, but also a divisive undertone.

UNISON is for all, young and retired, temp, trainee, manager and director

working in the public service, and retired members also want to be included

in UNISON campaigns, and in supporting members under pressure as an

integral part of the team.

The Seminar 2018

The seminar was seen as a success and showed up how many retired members had

concerns about their income and their savings and being cheated. Increasingly we are

being asked to give financial help to our children and grandchildren, so it becomes very

obviously true that poverty for younger workers can quickly spread to become poverty

for the older generation too. Many. UNISON members who are concerned about their

finances can get a preliminary assessment by Lighthouse Financial Advice Ltd. (Go

through your branch office.)

Unexpected and unpredictable changes and demands can leave even the most prudent

under pressure, and the reluctance of politicians to give wide publicity to bad news

makes that bad news even more disastrous when it does come. The raising of the

pension age for women towards equality with men has left many women in the lurch,

and the WASPI campaign coordinates political pressures for changes.

Older people are seen by cheats and scammers as easy targets for exploitation by

promising repairs to the roof, cheap gardening, high returns on savings and

investments, and all attempts should be reported to Action Fraud, which operates

nationally, 0300 123 2940. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to advise you,

and the Trading Standards Department should be kept informed. If it sounds too

good to be true then it probably is.

People who are lonely can easily become victims and loneliness is increasing among

young and old alike. If you feel lonely or want to help others, contact Age UK. The

University of the Third Age offers learning and companionship for all retired people in all

parts of the region, on a mutually supportive basis, for ‘ Those who teach shall also

learn & those who learn shall also teach.’


There have been cases of pensions being overpaid and reclaimed by reduction in

payments made. If you have been affected, contact your branch office.

If you are dealing with the affairs of a deceased person it is important to inform the

pension authority as soon as possible, To make it easier for next of kin and executors

who will deal with your affairs, please make sure that you have left instructions with your



Many UNISON Retired members do voluntary work for charities,

political parties and pressure groups.

As we reach ‘Peak Stuff’ and shops on the High Street close their doors, it

seems that every charity for every disability has a shop on the High Street,

and most retired members will either volunteer in them, or give used items

to them or buy from them. As well as the well known there are other

organisations that play a constructive role in our society that retired

members might like to support, and it is worthwhile to pick out a few of


38 Degrees is a British organisation which takes its name from the tipping

point, and by organising petitions and campaigns raises many issues that

call for action.

Change.org is an American worldwide ‘People Power’ organisation to fight

abuses and injustice. which enables the public to set up their own petitions.

It is active in the UK with actions on British issues.

Avaaz is also US based and enables activists throughout the world to

support victims of injustice. It describes itself as “Avaaz is the campaigning

community bringing people-powered politics to decision-making worldwide“.

Local Members Meetings

There are local groups of members meeting together in Ipswich,

Cambridge and Peterborough.

Ask your Retired Members’ Secretary for full details of local activities.

Branches often have difficulty in getting sufficient members together at the

Branch’s Annual General Meeting to make the meeting quorate. Do get

along there if you can.


As recent events, leaks and tweets have shown it is easier than ever to communicate

and more difficult than ever to limit your communications to the intended recipients. The

law struggles to keep up, and the penalties for careless information sharing and data

losses are severe. (Data Protection Act 2018).

However this does not prevent foreign companies from collecting information about

users about their contacts and purchases, their use of websites and social media in

order to sell this information to companies and third parties willing to pay for it. As a

consequence there is increasing reluctance to use Facebook and Twitter for more than

the trivial and personal.

If you are getting it for nothing, then you are the product not the customer.

In 2018 the European Union introduced General Data Protection Regulation, which

has tightened up the requirements and restrictions further.

All of this implies that it is no longer reasonable for UNISON data to be held

on a privately owned websites and this needs to change. There are obvious

advantages in this as the main UNISON website includes links to all the

regions, so to find information on events and campaigns in your region and

neighbouring regions you only need to go to the one main website to find what

you need, and if the regional website includes links to all the retired members

groups in the region then it makes it easier to find out what is going on in the

group nearest to you (which is not necessarily your own branch). We will

therefore only need to publish a single contact address to be able to reach all

interested members.

The consequences of the Trade Union Act 1916 are now being felt,

especially the clause ‘reducing the burden on taxpayers by ensuring that

payroll deductions for trade union subscriptions are only administered

where the cost is not funded by the public and ensuring transparency and

greater accountability relating to the use of public money for facility time.’

As a consequence UNISON’s income is being reduced, and we shall feel

that later this year when the money available for the seminar is reduced

and it will be necessary to ask for a contribution from their branch for

members attending the seminar, and we shall be the subjects of increased

and often hostile oversight.



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