The CWU Retired Members Facebook page can be found here
NPC Campaign Bulletins (Latest Autumn 2022) – can be found here
November 2022 – CWU Retired Members Conference will be held on Tuesday 15th November at CWU HQ, Wimbledon, London.
Retired Members Conference – Details.
Report of proceedings will be available here, after close of conference.
June 2022 – NPC shocked by attacks on decision to reinstate triple lock.
The National Pensioners’ Convention is shocked by new attacks on the government’s decision to reinstate the state pension triple lock rise next April.
As a new report* shows pensioner poverty is rocketing to well above two million, the UK’s largest older people’s campaign group says it is ‘shameful’ that so many are criticising the increase, which may see state pensions legistimately rising by 10% in 2023.
NPC calls out shameful ‘ageism’ of those attacking proposed state pension triple lock increase
Especially as last September, the Chancellor froze the triple lock – a government commitment to raise the value of the state pension every tax year by the higher of: inflation, average wage growth or 2.5 per cent – to 3.1%, just as UK inflation hit 9.1%.
Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the NPC said: “Our members have been struggling more than most with brutal food and fuel increases – so we have been shocked by the number of attacks reported in the media on the decision to reinstate the triple lock for pensioners.
“Sadly, it shows just how little people understand the UK state pension system – one of the poorest in the western world – and the current plight of millions of our oldest and most vulnerable who have just spent a winter choosing between eating or heating their homes. The NPC totally supports the call for all workers to receive a pay increase in line with inflation during this cost-of-living crisis.
“All of us grow old and not all of us are wealthy pensioners – that accolade fits around 600,000 pensioners out of more than 12 million retirees. Most of us struggle to get by on what is the most inadequate state pension in the industrial world, propped up by means-tested benefits which means pensioners who have worked and contributed all their working lives are somehow seen to be getting something for nothing. Not everyone is lucky enough to have an occupational pension. Indeed, we already know that one in three ofthose in their mid-50’s now, will rely solely on the state pension when they retire.”
Jan added that even a 10% rise will still leave the majority of our pensioners living on an income less than half the living wage.
Jan said: “It is a well-researched fact that older people spend a larger proportion of their income on essentials like energy and food compared to other households.
We believe everyone deserves an income increase that matches inflation. However, it is disappointing for some sections of the media to encourage such overt ageism towards the older generation – it’s completely unnecessary. Pensioners were workers once and workers are the pensioners of the future. The NPC stands for dignity in retirement now and in the future.”
*A new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and Ageing Better has found one in seven 65 year olds have been pushed into poverty due to the Government’s decision to raise the state pension age. The age for both sexes has risen in recent years from 60 to 66 for both men and women, making retirement further off. The consequence is that approximately 700,000 Britons were forced to wait another year before they could receive the state pension. It has increased the absolute income poverty rate for 65 year olds by 14 percentage points, or nearly 100,000 people. www.ifs.org.uk/publications/16097
Article © NPC Website
21st July 2021 – Triple Lock join the Fightback.
Since the government announced, earlier in the year, that they intended to keep their election promise and increase the State Pension in line with the ‘Triple Lock’ we have been warning that the issue has not gone away. We pointed out that those opposing the mechanism will resume their attacks once they get an opportunity. Now that the country appears to be coming out of ‘lockdown’ and the question of the economic recovery is being raised, they believe that this is the right time to raise the issue once more. According to an article in the Guardian (posted on the Retired Members Facebook page) Chancellor Rishi Sunak, supported by the Prime Minister and also by the Chair of the influential 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, has signalled that he is considering not automatically raising the State Pension in line with the Triple Lock.
The Triple Lock requires the State Pension to rise annually by at least 2.5% or either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the average annual wage increase. We are being told that average are projected to increase by 8% compared to July 2020. This is all speculation and the evidence does not yet support this. Opponents of a decent State Pension are arguing that it is an established fact and that the country cannot afford the increase which is due to be implemented next April.
In the same Guardian article and this is even more disturbing, Will Hutton, who claims to be a Labour Party supporting economist, stoked up the argument by claiming that, so called ‘Baby Boomers’ have reaped the benefits of 50 years of house price increases, generous private pensions and vertically free higher education and are responsible for the bleak future unaffordable housing, job security, pensions and education that youngsters are facing today. Whilst this is both inaccurate and untrue, it is disturbing that Hutton, who has influence in both the Labour Party and the wider Labour movement is supporting the arguments being peddled by the most extreme Thatcherites. In its last manifesto the party promised to uphold the Triple Lock. However it is not clear where the current Labour Party leadership stands on this issue. With this in mind it’s very important that every CWU activist and member, both retired and still working, uses any influence they have to ensure that the Labour Party maintains its commitment to the Triple Lock and importantly opposes any attempt by Rishi Sunak to ditch it.
Over the next few weeks we will be developing ideas for defending the Triple Lock. It’s an established fact that the Conservative Party relies heavily on the over 50s and in particular the retired and pensioners for its votes in elections. Those seats where they are defending a small majority, and the ‘Red Wall’ seats are where they are most vulnerable. We need to ensure that every MP, of whatever party, is aware that if they don’t support maintaining the Triple Lock, there will be political consequences.
9th February 2021 – UK’s biggest campaign group for older people writes to PM calling for Public Inquiry into pandemic deaths..
The NPC has written to Boris Johnson, MP, Prime Minister and Rt.Hon. Matt Hancock, MP, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care calling for the establishment of an independent public inquiry into the 100,000 – and rising – deaths from COVID-19 in the UK.
7th January 2021 – National Pensioners Convention (NPC) Submission. Response to the NHS England Consultation of Integrated Care Services.
COMMEMORATING THE 1971 POSTAL STRIKE.
The purpose of this article is to advise Branches that next year is the 50th Anniversary of the 1971 Postal Strike, which ran for almost 7 weeks from the 20th January 1971 to 8th March 1971.
Given the significance of this strike, not just to the CWU but also to the wider trade union movement and our social history, it is important that we commemorate what remains as the longest national strike that has ever taken place within the union (the then UPW). Therefore, in conjunction with the Communications team, we are planning a special event for January 2021, in recognition of the sacrifices made by our members in supporting their union and we welcome any ideas from Branches on the best way to commemorate this.
As part of the planning we are compiling a list of members from 1971 who still remain members of the union today, albeit mostly retired.
Given that the dispute took place when postal and telecommunications were part of the old GPO, it’s also likely that some T&FS Branches may have members who took part in the strike, particularly in engineering and the old telephone operator grades.
To help us compile the list we are also asking Branches to put forward any individual members who you are aware would like to take part in the event. This may involve those members talking about their recollections of the strike on video etc. and collecting relevant photos and memorabilia.
We will also be contacting retired members directly in due course and Norman Candy (former NEC member) will be placing information on the retired members’ website as we plan the event.
In the meantime, please send your ideas and any members you wish to nominate to participate in the event to Janina Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LTB 328/20 – State Pension – Triple Lock – Letter to MP’s
As you will be aware it is the policy of the CWU, developed through the Retired Members Committee the Retired Members Conference and CWU General Conference to support and campaign for the retention of what is called the Triple Lock on the state pension.
The Triple Lock is the mechanism that guarantees the state pension will not lose its value in real terms, and that it would increase at least in line with inflation. In order to make this guarantee secure, it includes three separate measures of inflation and this is where the term “triple lock” comes from. The way it operates in practice is that each year the state pension would increase by the greatest of the following three measures:
- Average earnings
- Prices, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI)
- 2.5 per cent
This is extremely important for pensioners, as it guarantees that the state pension increases over time thus preserving its value in real terms against price increases. As we know retirement can be a period of 25 years or even more, and over such a length of time prices can increase dramatically. For example, 25 years ago a litre of petrol cost only around 50 pence. Having this guarantee then is extremely important and especially so when you consider the low size of the UK state pension (only £9,110.40 a year in 2020/21).
There has been an increasing amount of speculation recently on the future of the triple lock. This has arisen, seemingly, over a debate around how “the country” as it’s being termed, is going to pay for the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Various reports in the media have clearly suggested that the Government would or is considering ending the use of the triple lock mechanism.
It has been widely reported in the press and media that despite the Conservative Manifesto pledging its continuation and also recent pronouncements by the Prime Minster to the same the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak is now actively considering removing the triple lock protection.
Cleary this is a move we would oppose and we will be raising this with the Labour Party as part of our political campaigning work.
However, the pensioner vote in UK elections is a sizeable constituency and we would like as many of our members, retired or otherwise to write to their MP asking them to defend the triple lock.
Attached to this LTB is a template letter that we would ask Branches to circulate as widely as possible to all members asking them to send to their MP, whatever political party they belong to, to seek their support to defending the triple lock.
We cannot allow the government to begin to make vulnerable sections of our society pay what would be a heavy price as they look to address failings in the economy.
Any enquiries regarding this LTB should be addressed to the Senior Deputy General Secretary’s Department on telephone number 020 8971 7237, or email address email@example.com
16th April 2020 – FOR YOUR INFORMATION – LESE Pensioners’ Network
Residential institutions in the eye of the COVID-19 storm: governments must act quickly to protect residents and personnel
The situation of older persons living in residential institutions in several European countries is alarming. Our recent report sheds light on how the pandemic threatens their human rights and what response is urgently needed.
Persons living and working in nursing and care facilities are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 due to close proximity between residents and regular interactions with care staff. Because of underlying multi-morbidities, residents are also at great risks for adverse outcomes. In several countries, half of the deaths due to COVID-19 happens in care homes.
Reports of abandoned or even dead older persons in care institutions are shocking. Cases of older persons living in congregated settings being pressured to sign ‘do-not-resuscitate’ orders are alarming. Equally worrying are cases of residents being denied access to hospital care for life-saving treatments because they are considered “too old”. Such practices are unacceptable human rights violations.
“We all have the right to access medical, social and palliative care required by our health condition. These fundamental human rights do not diminish with age nor should they be denied to us depending on where we live”
Reminds Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe. In pandemic times when health and care systems are under pressure, ethical protocols are indispensable and chronological age cannot be the sole criterion for triage.
To put an end to these intolerable violations of human rights affecting the most vulnerable, we urge all national and local health and care authorities to take immediate action:
• In the short run, public authorities must urgently include COVID-19 cases and deaths happening in care institutions in their reports on the pandemic to stop considering COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes as “normal” or “unavoidable”. We also urge them to urgently provide adequate resources for residents and staff to protect themselves adequately since physical distancing is difficult to apply to persons who are dependent on others’ support.
• In the long run, proper investments will be required in both social and long-term care services to ensure everyone has access to quality living environments and services that respect life choices and rights of individuals in need for support, and adequate working conditions for their carers.
- AGE, Webpage, COVID-19
- AGE, Policy Paper, “COVID-19 and human rights concerns for older persons”
- AGE, Press Release, 7 April, “Investment in health for all: the best reward we can give to nurses”
14th April 2020 – National Pensioners Convention – General Secretary Update.
Can be found
here – NPC Website
Along with lots of other useful information.
1st April 2020 – Latest Information with regard to COVID-19
National Pensioners’ Convention Coronavirus & PPE statement.
Time for MP’s to step up to ensure priority protection for local health & care workers.
We have two favours to ask you. Firstly, if the lack of PPE for medics is a worry to you, please write to your own MP and ask what they are doing about this, and do let us know if you receive a reply.
Secondly, it is important that the NPC keeps a track on how Covid-19 is impacting communities across the regions, and also how it is being handled by local services. For example, are there still isolated older people being left out of the loop for help? Is the Government’s ‘Shielding’ initiative for the country’s 1.5million most vulnerable people working effectively. Please us know.
This is not at all intended to criticise the many brave people working diligently across our care and support services to see us through this crisis. But it is important to ensure help is getting to those of us who need it most.
The National Pensioners’ Convention is appalled that weeks into the Coronavirus emergency medical and care staff are still without life-saving Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) – and still not being priority tested.
Despite Government promises, the NPC says many of its 1.5 million members are reporting a widespread lack of PPE – such as masks, gowns, safety glasses and sanitising handwash – for medics and care workers.
These brave, selfless people are putting their own lives at risk by caring for those of us suffering from Covid-19. In many cases these nurses, doctors, porters, other hospital staff and care workers in care homes and in the homes of individuals are the family of NPC members. All of them are concerned at the possibility of spreading the virus.
As Britain’s biggest campaigning organisation for older people – those most of risk from Covid-19 – the NPC is calling on individual MP’s, not to simply leave the issue to Government, but instead to urgently step up to the mark to ensure health and care workers in their own constituencies receive PPE, and crucially Covid-19 testing as a matter of urgency.
NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt said: “We hear daily announcements from the Government about PPE and testing being made available to medical staff and care workers, but from what we see and hear, there is little evidence of this vital equipment reaching those we all rely upon to keep us – and themselves – safe.
“It is fantastic that so many ordinary people are volunteering to help their communities in this time of crisis. Now that Parliament is closed, it is time for MP’s to step up and fight for a better service for the vulnerable for the frontline staff in hospitals, clinics, care homes and care at home services in their own constituencies.”
“Our members are seriously concerned for the welfare of doctors, nurses and care staff in the light of lack of basic equipment. We have already had cases of medical professionals dying from the disease.
“That these caring staff should still be expected to work without the protection of gloves, aprons, masks and other equipment in time of crisis is appalling. It is also extremely short- sighted, when those who are not protected may inadvertently be spreading the virus even further.”
The NPC believes Government decisions over the last decade have created the crisis in the NHS and social care.
We are shocked at the revelations in The Guardian (27th March) that former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ‘advised’ a high-level Government working party in 2016 to reconsider their recommendation (which they did) to stockpile safety glasses for health workers in anticipation of any future pandemic because of cost.
This is yet another example of the Government’s failure to fully fund the NHS and social care, which has left both services now completely unprepared for the level of need created by COVID-19.
Actions speak louder than words – the Government should be ashamed of not delivering on promises regarding PPE and testing. If ever there was proof of the need for public services like the NHS, local government and publicly funded care, this is it.
“Employers of care staff who work in care homes or visit the most vulnerable patients in their own home must be provided with the same level of equipment and resources for their staff. Not to do so is wholly unacceptable.”