next meeting: 22nd November 2017– 12.30 for 1pm – at Unite, Pride Park, Derby.

+ Report to Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council of latest meeting

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Report to Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council

Midlands TUC Pensioners’ Network, 12th July 2017

18 present including, it appeared, ten women but only one Black member.

West Midlands Pensioners’ Convention / UKIP
North Staffs TUC rep defended WMPC’s position but proposed no course of action so the network’s links with WMPC remain suspended.

TUC Action following the General Election
Rob Johnson, region’s Policy & Campaigns Officer, reviewed the election result and current position. TUC focus on public sector pay cap. Two rallies planned in West Midlands (details to follow):
Stoke on Trent 30th September
Telford 14th October

Bus Services Act 2017
Enacted in pre-election wash-up. Act is very modest. Won’t challenge dominant position of five multi-national companies which seldom compete or reverse 39% drop in bus use since deregulation in 1986. Opportunities for campaigning may arise with election of metro-mayor but opportunities are limited since no new funding comes with the act. Officers will meet Rob to explore incl poss link with 10th anniversary of bus pass.

Pensions etc.
DUP agreement appears to protect Triple Lock and universal Winter Fuel Payment. Government response on Cridland still awaited. Network set up a women’s working party which is developing a campaign.

Election of Executive Committee
UNISON raised an issue about people not appointed as delegates standing in EC election. Letter noted. Problem appears to be that some delegates struggle with the procedures of their own trade union.

Closure of Hospital Beds, North Staffs Malcolm Swann made a report. This sounds like a good piece of work that the rest of us could learn from.

Other Issues
Carers Week not pursued this year cos General election; poss next year.
Black History Month possibility of event being investigated.
Demo at Tory Party Conference Sunday 1st October
Finance £961.51 in hand. Banner cost £124.55.
UNISON Residential Care Charter
Phoenix House – campaign to prevent closure successful

Bob Deacon
17th July 2017



Report to Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council

Midlands TUC Pensioners Network 22nd March 2017

Attendance 21 delegates representing six unions1 and five trades councils2 including, it appeared, twelve women and nine men but only one Black delegate.

Election of Executive Committee
Chairperson Yvonne Washbourne, PCS
Deputy Chairperson Bob Deacon, Wolverhampton
Secretary Jean Williams, UNISON
West Midlands General Seats Brian Adam, GMB
Winifred Whitehouse, UNISON
West Midlands Women’ Seats Margaret Clark, GMB – elected
(contested) Sue Wood, UNISON – elected
(Judith Longbottom, UNISON – not elected)
East Midlands General Seats Two vacancies
East Midlands Women’ Seats Rowena Dawson, UCU
One Vacancy
Observer TUC Pensions Committee Yvonne Washbourne

Finance: Current balance £982.76; outstanding donation from Walsall UNISON; banner still to pay for - est. £100-£150.

Splendid New Banner, made by Rowena Dawson and Winifred Whitehouse, on display at Midlands TUC AGM, had its first outing at NHS demo, March 4th.

Midlands TUC Equality Forum Inaugural meeting held 27th January. Report from Monica Taylor (Unite) and Sue Wood (UNISON). Still to find its feet. Concerns it gets support it needs to get under way.

Work Plan for 2017 Adopted. Available on request. Some features:
Bulletin to be produced to improve communication with MTUC and unions;
Possible joint work with Women’s Committee around Carers’ Week (12-18 June);
West Midlands Pensioners’ Convention – future links questionable following WMPC invite to UKIP- to be raised with Regional Secretary;
Pensions – Sod’s Law would have it our meeting fell the day before publication of Cridland’s final report! Network set up a group to look at women’s pension issues;
Transport was to have been main topic for March meeting but speaker cried off. Agreed invite July or November. Need to get to grips with Buses Bill.

Other Items
Pharmacy Closures – currently subject to judicial review.
Attendance Allowance – reported previously.
Worcester TUC 125th Anniversary.
DWP office closure – impact on Mesothelioma Scheme – see attached briefing from Asbestos Support Central England.

Future Meetings 12th July and 22nd November –both Wednesdays, 1pm-3pm, Unite, Derby.

Bob Deacon  27th March 2017


Midlands TUC Pensioners’ Network - report of meeting on 30th November 2016



14 delegates including, it appeared, 7 women but only one Black delegate.


Main Item – UNISON’s Save Care Now Campaign

Nottingham is first Midlands Council to sign UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter. Mick Moreton, an organiser working with the UNISON branch, described their campaign. Key factors seemed to be that portfolio holder for social care was well disposed and detailed work with managers responsible for commissioning. Underpinned by relatively high membership density but no public campaigning or community links. Proof of the pudding will come with later contract management and monitoring.

Midlands TUC Equality Conference Brief report. Network elected Monica Taylor (Unite) and Sue Wood (UNISON) as network reps to the new Equality Committee.

2017 Network Nominations Request has been circulated.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans Elaine Smith (Unite) attended September 17th conference. Conference joint statement circulated. Plans now available. Delegates urged to get to grips with local plans. Elaine may be able to assist.

National TUC Pensioners’ Committee Wash reported on October meeting. Covered Action for Rail, Buses Bill, Cridland Review – re further increases to State Pension Age; Pharmacy Closures - Top-&-tail letter to be circulated, Young Workers’ Month.

Committee appears more positive and campaigning-focused. Spends less time moaning about the infrequency of its meetings and its lack of status.

Bedroom Tax. Government plans to use Local Housing Allowance rates to cap Housing Benefit without any exemption for pensioners, in effect extending the Bedroom Tax to pensioners

Attendance Allowance We reviewed campaign so far including Tory Party conference lobby – now on hold awaiting further government proposals.


Other Items

  • Banner under production at last
  • Financial appeal raised £675. Delegates asked to convey thanks.
  • Action for Rail 3rd January
  • East Midlands Pensioners Convention planning “Generations United” Event


Bob Deacon UNISON 06.12.2016



Report to Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council

Midlands TUC Pensioners’ Network, Derby, 10th August 2016

Attendance: 16 – 8 women and 8 men – that’s two meetings in a row we have achieved gender parity – but, it appeared, not including any Black delegates.

Attendance Allowance: This was the main item. The government proposes to devolve responsibility, in England to councils. The network has raised the issue with Congress House and has produced a top-&-tail letter to MPs

Unwelcome the Tories to Birmingham, 1st-5th October

International Day for Older People, 1st October

Network agreed to work with West Midlands Pensioners’ Convention and Coventry Branch British Pensioners’ and Trades Unionists’ Action Association to do a street stall on Monday 3rd October, probably on Attendance Allowance. Details will be circulated once available.

Besides the network’s activity to unwelcome the Tories, other stuff I’m aware of ….

  • Saturday 1st October: Peoples’ Assembly Conference

  • Sunday 2nd October: Midlands TUC/Peoples’ Assembly Demo Victoria Square 11.30am.

  • Plus some cultural/entertainment stuff with which the UNISON Regional LGBT group and Birmingham Branch are involved. Details: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    This will be held for the second year. Details will be included in the October newsletter if available.

    Financial Appeal, following delay, was circulated in July. The only donations received by the time of the network meeting were from Wolverhampton and Worcester Trades Councils.

    Executive Committee Vacancies

    Farouk Haidar, Mike McLoughlin and Elaine Smith (all Unite) elected.

    Future Meetings

    Network: 30 November*, 22 March, 12 July, 22 November

    Executive: 11 January, 10 May, 20 September

    *Speaker from Nottingham UNISON on City Council adopting Ethical Care Charter

    Other Items

    • Banner

    • Midlands TUC Equalities Conference, Saturday 29th October

    • Network Membership – total now 40, including 18 women.

    • Review Pensions Conference, Leicester, 18th May

    • Review Stall at Chainmakers

    • Action for Rail 13th August

    • Merger of Midland TUC LGBT, BAME and Disabled Groups

    • Health Campaigns Together Conference 17th September

    Bob Deacon, 7th September 2016