The group continues to meet on the second Friday of each month at Dalziel Building, Scott St, Motherwell. All retired Unison members are welcome. Contact the branch office 01698 276291 for further information.

Part of the programme this year has included speakers who covered topics of interest to the group, ie. Changes in Hospital Services: Housing for Older People: Casualisation of Women Workers.

Lillian Macer, Regional Convenor, Lanarkshire Health Branch talked to the group about the plan for Integrated Care between Health and Social Care services and how this may impact on workers’ conditions when the two services combine. The aim of the plan is to reduce the number of people remaining in hospital because there is no other setting or services available for them to move on to.

The NLC Housing Strategy for Older people was explained to the group by Margaret Kelly, Community Care Development Officer. The housing stock number is 2000 for sheltered housing. It is acknowledged there are an increased number of older people with more complex needs being supported at home and this has required adaptations to their property. The plan is to pilot new models of specialist older person’s housing provision: exploring the feasibility of shared equity and equity release options for older owner occupiers.

STUC Organiser John Slaven spoke to the group about the innovative ways members have taken to expose poor employment practice in place by a Glasgow pub and restaurant owner, who did not pay minimum wage, used zero contracts and did not pass on workers’ tips. Changing from the usual on street demo the members took to a pub ‘sit in’ with a flash choir highlighting of the plight of the employees. From this John was able to say that tips are now being paid and the organisation and its owner are aware that Union eyes are upon them and can bring shame and embarrassment to their business. The matter of private companies being used for homecare services and the poor terms and conditions they operate was also discussed. The issue of out sourcing services and the profit motive which underpin the private sector remains a challenge for Unison in terms of women and casualisation.

The Retired members group are grateful to the speakers and hope that this summary will attract new members to come along to the meetings.