Below is an update on Friday’s business – the final day of #UPC2021. Conference discussed the Executive Council report and Unite’s accounts, plus motions on Pensions & Retirement, Political & Labour Party, Union Administration & Membership Services. Key conference documents and updates from previous days were posted previously (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).
Executive Report & Accounts
They were endorsed.
Pensions & Retirement
Emergency Motion #1 State Pension – Triple Lock (text below) – agreed
Composite 12 (motions 88+A, 89) State Pension – agreed
Motion 86 State Pension – agreed
Motion 85 State Pension – agreed
Composite 13 (motions 91, 128) Dignity for Older People – agreed
Motion 87 Pension Protection Fund – agreed
Motion 90+A National Pensioners’ Convention – agreed
Motion 132 Retirement & Pensions Education – agreed
Motion 133 Retirement & Pensions Education – agreed
Political & Labour Party
Composite 14 (motions 92, 93, 95) Preferential Voting – agreed
This was a contested debate, but the Composite, opposing First Past The Post, passed by about 2 to 1.
Composite 15 (motions 96, 97) Clause IV – agreed
Union Administration & Membership Services
Motion 142 Branch ICT – remitted
Motion 143 Trade Union Councils – agreed
Motion 131 Transport from Heathrow – agreed
Emergency Motion #3 Housekeeping and Hospitality and Unite’s use of hotels (see below for text) – agreed
Emergency Motion #1: State Pension – Triple Lock
Introduced in 2011 by the coalition government, the triple lock guarantees that the basic state pension will rise by a minimum of either 2.5%, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth, whichever is largest.
Despite a clear manifesto commitment from the Tories to honour the Pension Triple Lock, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has now stated that the triple lock will not the honoured this year and that changes will be made to how pension increases will be calculated.
The excuses and rational for reneging on the manifesto commitment, is the anticipated rise in average earnings as worker move form furlough to full wages. The Bank of England estimates this will equate to an 8% rise in average earnings.
Already the rhetoric of unfairness is in the media and it’s that unfairness card that the Tories will play to justify breaking away from the Pension Triple Lock manifesto commitment. It feeds into the already false narrative that pensioners in the UK are well off and are better off at the expense of tax payers and to the detriment of the younger generation.
This unfairness narrative fuels division and allows the government to abdicate responsibility for delivering for all sectors, whether young or old, working or not working. The reality is that compared with many of our pensioner counterparts in Europe, our pension level is low and many pensioners in the UK live in poverty. Since the pension triple lock was introduced in 2012, the highest rise has been 5% with most annual increases being around 2.5%. Conference calls on the Executive Council to mount a vigorous campaign to protect the Pension Triple Lock and ensure that it is restored at the earliest opportunity and to work alongside the NPC, SPF (Scottish Pensioners Forum), TUC, Labour Party and to mobilise support for the campaign across all sectors of the union.
Emergency Motion #3: Housekeeping and Hospitality and Unite’s use of hotels
Conference notes that hotels used by delegates during Policy Conference have a policy of not offering daily housekeeping, guests are required to opt in.
Conference calls on the Executive Council to ensure that all future block bookings made for Unite will require the hotel to provide daily housekeeping.
Conference also demands that housekeeping is provided on a daily basis at all Unite hospitality premises.
Conference calls on Unite to campaign against this threat to hotel housekeepers’ livelihoods and occupational health and safety by:
- informing sister organisations of this threat to hotel housekeepers’ livelihoods and asking them to adopt policies of requiring hotels they use for events to provide daily housekeeping
- raising public awareness, scientific evidence shows that cleaning hotel rooms yields similar public health benefits as cleaning other parts of the hotel
- campaigning for decent working conditions and collective agreements in hospitality.