CWU Retired Members Conference 2023.
The 2023 Retired Members Conference was held in Union Head office on the 26th of October and over 100 delegates, officers and committee members debated 18 motions over the course of the day. (Full copy of Retired Members Conference Agenda 2023 available for scrutiny)
The Conference was opened by Karen Rose, newly elected SDGS (T) and the keynote address was by the General Secretary, Dave Ward and in his welcome, Dave said it was gratifying to see such a large attendance of retired members who were still prepared to commit their time to the affairs of the CWU.
In wishing the delegates success in their deliberations, Dave stressed the importance of the Union’s Retired Members Sections across the union and the need for their input to the next General Election when the priority was the removal of this corrupt Tory government.
There was an apology from the SDGS Tony Kearns who had to deal with an urgent family matter.
There were 18 motions down for debate and they covered a wide range of topics of concern to our retired members both internally and across wider labour movement.
Attacks on the Triple Lock, the threatened closure of rail ticket offices, the growing trend to digitalise payments, closure of pharmacies and concerns over dental care, coupled with NHS deterioration, and concern over the growth of food banks, were all on the agenda.
Also, internal issues covering retaining the Retired Members Annual Conference, Improving Regional Delegations and ensuring properly run retired members sections were also discussed.
The Northern Ireland Region had submitted a motion on the need for the Government to re-introduce the “Energy Bill Subsidy Scheme” and the motion moved by John Leyton (NITB) was passed Unanimously.
A second motion submitted by the NI Telecom branch which highlighted discriminatory adverts towards Northern Ireland members, in CWU publications (moved by John McLaughlin NITB) was lost narrowly on a show of hands. This was somewhat surprising as the argument made against the motion was not factual, nor indeed did it deal with the issue. The delegation will be supporting taking this motion to General Conference in 2024.
A 3rd motion from NI West branch which increases the regional delegations to a minimum of two was also passed.
The two motions which will go to General Conference from the RM Conference both deal with the Triple Lock. Also, the Conference agreed two retired member delegates to attend General Conference on its behalf.
Overall, despite a marked increase in the number of motions, the Standing orders had got it right once again and business was concluded within the timescales. There was general agreement that the conference was beneficial in highlighting the concerns of our retired members across the union.
The Northern Ireland Region was represented by Lawrence C Huston (NITB) and John Martin, (NIWB) National Retired Members Committee, John Leyton and John McLaughlin, NI Telecom Branch and Michael McAlinden NI West branch.
L C Huston. 1/11/2023.