Retired Members Roundup and News

CWU Conferences 2023/4

The National Executive has agreed at a meeting held on 27 July that the CWU Annual Conference 2023 will be held at the Bournemouth International Centre from 23 – 27 April 2023. Furthermore the new Winter Gardens, Blackpool have been booked from 8 – 14 June 2024 for the following year’s Annual Conference. The Union’s policy is to identify venues which are able to hold our conference at the same time of the year that we have held them traditionally.The demand for conference facilities, from various organisations across the UK, in the wake of Covid Crisis have made this increasingly difficult. Further information with regards the programme of business for the 2023 conference will be published at a later date.

The NEC also agreed that the CWU Rules Revision Conference due to be held in November 2022 will be postponed and incorporated into the 2023 Annual Conference.

There have been a number enquiries regarding the Retired Members Annual Conference. This is being actively considered currently and it is hoped we will be able to provide further information regarding this in the near future.

Retired Members Membership Retention.

The report produced by the National Retired Members working group has been published, circulated to the National Retired Members Committee (NRMC) and to the Union’s Regional Leads and Branch Leads by the Senior Deputy General Secretary’s department. Following the meeting of the NRMC a number of action points were agreed. These included the production of a booklet outlining why retired remember should maintain their CWU membership, correspondence to the Union’s Occupational National Officers seeking their assistance in gaining access to CWU members facing retirement and discussions with the representatives of the Union’s trustees of the various funds were we have members on access to retiring members.

Some information of interest to our retired members has emerged from the recent CWU Proportionality Report 2022.

  1. Retired members make up 6.75% of the membership.
  2. There has been a 3.8% increase in the retired members section above the previous year’s membership. This is the biggest increase of any section.
  3. Retired Members membership in 2021 increased by 2.9% and in 2022 by 6.75%.

How this translates in numbers is not apparent yet. Once this is available it will be published on the Website and Facebook page.

Fuel Crisis and Pensioners

A recent report by Age UK has estimated that the proposed increases to energy costs will result in pensioners having to spend 50% of their State Pension on energy costs. Age UK is warning of a national crisis for pensioners due to rising energy bills. Pensioners on low incomes will be the worst hit by the forecast increase in energy bills in the Autumn. Those of us with occupational pensions as well as a State Pension will also see a massive reduction in their incomes and will see a reduction in their standards of living.

The two candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party have been questioned on their response to the crisis and its effect on pensioners. Rashi Sunak has made some vague comments about helping those in difficulties but has not committed a government led by him promising protection for the Triple Lock. Liz Truss meanwhile has promised to honour the government’s promise to maintain the Triple Lock. It should be remembered that it was rumoured some months ago that Sunak was not in favour of keeping their commitment to maintain the Triple Lock, however in the current fluid political environment anything could happen and promises are easily broken.

Pensioners are not alone in having to face huge increases in fuel bills. The country’s most vulnerable people will see huge increases in their bills and so far neither candidate has attempted to face up to how enormous the problem is. The trade unions have been early critics of the government’s failures but they also have their hands full with the current round of wage claims. The Labour Party however are in a position to challenge the government but have not yet produced a coherent strategy for resolving the crisis. What is clear is that there is a huge groundswell of opposition to not only the energy crisis but the general reduction in living standard resulting from price increases. This could be a landmark opportunity to change the economic direction the country is taking but to do so it will mean working people from across the political spectrum coming together.