Four delegates from the Devon County Branch, Carol Jackson, David Hinchliffe, Tom Reardon and Sue Twyford, attended the Retired Members’ Conference, which was held in Chester.
This historic city provided an interesting backdrop to two days of debate and networking. Workshops on the first day brought delegates up to date on current pension issues and also services that UNISON can facilitate and provide. On the following day, the main conference debated and carried over thirty motions, many of which covered controversial ground – for example the level of State Pensions and the effect of index linking to the CPI rather than RPI, the proposed NHS reforms, care of the elderly especially with reference to the Dilnot Report and a campaign for restoration of the full Winter Fuel Allowance, which has been cut this year causing hardship to older people. This motion was proposed by UNISON Devon County Branch and one of our delegates, Tom Reardon, spoke in support, the vote being unanimously in favour of the campaign.
Sue Twford, UNISON Devon County Branch delegate said: “Dave Prentis, our UNISON General Secretary was a guest speaker and gave a rousing and wide-ranging speech in the light of the current impending industrial action. He regretted the need for strike action and indicated that he welcomes the modernisation of public sector pension schemes and their need to be sustainable. He received a very warm and supportive response from the retired members. We all found the conference interesting and a good opportunity to meet representatives from other areas, including our South West colleagues. The event moves on to Cardiff in 2012.”