1. Seconding Motion 32: Retired Workers

We know our members are living longer and healthier lives compared with those who went before us. The Census of Population in the Republic of Ireland published this year showed an increase of 19.1% compared to the previous census in the number of people aged over 65 – to 640,000 – and a 15.6% increase in the number of people aged over 85. It also showed an increase for those aged over 60, and for those aged over 80, reporting good or very good health. In the health statistics, however, there were clear social class differences, showing that inequality persists into older age.

This motion recognises the contribution of retired workers to society and their families, as carers and helpers. Yet despite the importance of these and other contributions, age-related insecurities persist in terms of both income adequacy and in services for older people.

The motion focuses on giving a stronger voice to retired workers.

This is trade union business, in the context of our equality and anti-discrimination values.

We all need to develop structures for our retired members. There are organisational issues for each union to face in doing this, such as certain decisions including only those directly affected, but all such issues can be resolved by consensus and common sense.

For both serving and retired public servants in the Republic of Ireland, rolling back and wiping out the FEMPI legislation is a necessity.

This motion links strongly with Motion 34 on pensions due to the serious risk of pension poverty for retired workers. There is no issue more fundamental than tackling the pensions crisis facing all workers but especially those in private sector employments where pension schemes no longer exist.

Finally, the Citizens’ Assembly south of the border this July addresses policy and planning in areas such as health, caring, independence and inclusion for older people. Our representative workers’ assembly too needs to focus on our role in representing retired members, especially on income adequacy.

Each union is obliged to address these issues, as we must collectively as a Congress of trade unions.