Unite is Britain and Ireland’s biggest union and we believe that Trade Union membership should be available from the cradle to the grave. That is why we have specialist groups dedicated to working with our different sections of membership.
Our retired members’ structures in London & Eastern reflect the diversity of our members in retirement. They come from all industries and from all walks of life – and they all have a vital contribution to the life and campaigns of our union.
Our Retired Members and Activists have a huge wealth of experience. Many continue to use this experience to campaign around issues that directly
impact upon those in retirement, such as pensioners’ benefits, access to transport and winter fuel allowances. However, we are proud that our
retired members in Unite offer support to and fight alongside other sections of our membership, whether in our campaigns to save the NHS, oppose the
bedroom tax or support members in dispute, joining them on demonstration and on picket lines.
We believe that recognising the values of a generation who made our union what it is today means understanding and supporting those issues that are
important to you today. We hope you find this Pack useful and look forward to your full involvement in the life of our Union.
Peter Kavanagh, Regional Secretary, London & Eastern Region.
Why join “Retired Members Plus?”
There are many reasons why members should retain their membership of Unite after retiring from work, some of them are listed below:
Life does not come to a stop when you retire from work, its priorities change and your requirements alter.
If you want to retain your accumulated benefits whilst in membership of Unite after you retire from work it will be necessary to transfer over to “Retired Members Plus” at a cost of 50p per week; less than the price of a postage stamp. If you want to remain active as a branch officer within the retired members section of the union, then you have to be a member of “Retired Members Plus”.
Retired Members branches usually hold their meetings and social activities during the day and not in the evenings.
Unite provides a constitutional branch, regional and national structure under rule for its retired members.
Retired members currently have observer status on the Regional Committees and the National Executive Committee and have voting rights on the Regional Political Committees and Area Activists Committees.
Retired members need the support of the union in retirement to enable them to campaign effectively on issues that effect retired members e.g. pensions, NHS, health care, care in the community, the bus pass, winter fuel allowance, and the free television licence for the over 75’s and maintaining universal benefits.
Being in the union also gives them the opportunity to affiliate to the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) both regionally and nationally and to participate in the work on the South East Region TUC Pensioners Network. Branches are also able to affiliate and participate and operate in line with the policy of the union, such as Cuba Solidarity Campaign.
Unite provides basic training for its branch officials on how to operate branches effectively, it can also provide IT training for its members at various levels. The Regional Educational programme also provides one day seminars on pensions issues and there will be provided for retired members during the year, on issues of relevance to retired people.
The Union also holds a week long summer school for retired members at Eastbourne during August, for which each region can nominate members to attend.
The first National Unite Retired Members Conference was held at the Eastbourne Conference Centre in August 2013.
People who resigned from the Union when they retired from work are welcome to re-join on Retired Members Plus.
London & Eastern Unite Retired Members (URM) Organisational Structure
The London & Eastern Region currently has 17 Retired members branches which were established in September 2012.
The Coordinating Conference was held in September 2012 and elected the Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC), which consists of 20 Delegates.
The role of the RCC is to coordinate the work of the branches, to give support and guidance when requested. The RRC shape the campaigning work and develop policy relating to retired members in the London & Eastern Region. A key task of the RCC is too ensure the growth of the retired member’s organisation within Unite. To retain members in the union upon reaching retirement age, to recruit new or lapsed members.
The Regional Coordinating Committee elect a sub-committee to deal with the day to day business of the RCC in between the quarterly meetings, and will liaise closely with the Regional Secretary or the officer who has been given responsibility for the Retired Members.
The RCC has an observer on the London & Eastern Regional Committee and sends two delegates to the National Retired Members Committee. There are also two reserved seats for Retired members on the Regional Political Committee and on each Area Activist Committee.
The RCC has 8 delegates to South East Region TUC’s Pensioners Network. The RCC sends two delegates to the NPC Blackpool Pensioners Parliament every year. The National Retired Members Committee also has an observer on the Unite National Executive Committee.