Retired Members

Defend the Right to Strike 

Retired Members join the Campaign

The Retired Members Committee here in the North West strongly believes that UNISON’s Retired Members, should maintain involvement in the union, and in particular should give support to working members who are fighting to defend their jobs, pay, conditions of service, and as in this case, their fundamental trade union rights. 

On 27 January the Trades Union Congress called a demonstration in Cheltenham in protest at the latest antitrade union legislation from the Tory government, the imposition of Minimum Service Levels, designed to force workers to act as strike breakers.   Cheltenham was chosen by the TUC as the venue because it is where Tories outlawed the right to strike at GCHQ forty years ago. The protest attracted several thousand trade unionists.   Four members of the North West Retired Members Committee were on this demonstration, each marching with their own Branch, Chrissie Bassue (Manchester University Healthcare Branch), Mary Whitby (AQA Branch), Dave Read (NW Energy Branch) and Roger Bannister (Knowsley Branch).   These four managed to meet up together at the rally at the end of the demonstration, which was addressed by leaders of the unions on the march. 

North West Region Retired Members Committee 2024 

Thank you to the members who braved the bad weather to attend the Regional AGM on 23rd January at the Regional Office.  It showed the resilience of Unison Retired Members with over 20 members from across the region in attendance.    And it also showed the level of engagement retired members maintain with the organisation when they have the opportunity. Also thank you to those members willing to put themselves forward to be members of the Committee.    The meeting continued the work of improving publications for recruitment of more Retired Members by asking ‘what are the benefits of being a retired member’.  Some of the list includes socialising with other Unison members, having a friend as well as retaining the benefits of Unison Living and access ‘There for You’. We are also looking to issue Notes for Guidance on establishing a Retired Members Group.

The AGM also elected the new committee for 2024. A full list of new committee members and officers is listed below. 


Roger Bannister (Chair), Michelle Beach (Vice Chair), Roz Cheetham, Albert Hartley, Linda Myers (Deputy Secretary), Sue Roylance, Robert Smith-Wilson, Frances Walker, Mary Whitby (Secretary), Chrissie Bassue, Margaret Buckley, Michael Garvey, Margie Hill, David Read (Treasurer), Anthony Smith, Janice Tomkinson, David Ward.

Who we are....

To help Retired Branch Officers and retired activitists get to know more about the North West Region Retired Members Committee we are introducing a regular feature to introduce officers and committee members.  In this first edition we introduce our Chair Roger Bannister and Vice Chair Michelle Beach.

Roger Bannister (Chair)  

Prior to my retirement in 2017 I had been Secretary of the Knowsley Branch for over 30 years, and had served on the NEC of Nalgo, and went on to become the longest serving member of UNISON's NEC.  Since retirement I have been elected as Retired Members Officer in Knowsley, and now chair the Regional Retired Members Committee.  I have involved myself in the wider Retired movement, currently serving as Secretary of Liverpool and District Pensioners, as a delegate to the North West Pensioners Association, and to the National Executive Committee of the National Pensioners Convention.   The Tory government has Pensioners in its sights, and has already whittled away at the Triple Lock State Pension formula. It is vital that Pensioners organise to fight to defend what we have, and to improve it.   

Michelle Beach (Vice Chair and National Rep) 

I have been a trade unionist for the majority of my career – 25+ years.  I have held various Branch positions such as Communications Officer, Membership Services Officer, Equalities Rep and Equalities Officer, Health and Safety Rep together with Lead Steward.  Latterly I have been the Retired Members’ Secretary for my Branch – Lancashire Police and Justice UNISON Branch.  I was involved in the Regional LGBT SOG of which I was one of the Chairs - this lead to my briefly being involved in the National LGBT  Commitee.  I was also involved in the Regional Disabled Members SOG.  I also participated in the Police and Justice Service Group.  Nationally I became the Chair of the Disabled Members’ Committee and chaired National Disabled Members’ Conference.  I have attended numerous conferences such as Police and Justice Service Group, Disabled Members Conference, LGBT Conference, Womens’ Conference and National Delegates Conference.  Latterly Retired Members’ Conference.  I was given the privilege of being made an Honorary Life Member when I was ill health retired in June 2015, something I am immensely proud of as I am of being a UNISON Member. I subsequently became involved in the Retired Members’ movement which has led to my being elected as Vice Chair and also to represent the North West Region on National Retired Members’ Committee.

National Retired Members Committee Report 

At the last meeting of the National Committee held on 11th January it was agreed that 3 working groups would be established to look at 1) progressing motions agreed at the 2023 National Conference; 2) ways of working to include a survey of retired  members activity and the Retired Members’ Handbook; 3) communications – e-newsletter editorial.  It has been reported that the Equality Unit is currently carrying 3.5 vacancies which is resulting in enormous pressure on the staff who are presently working within the team.  Once membership of each of the working groups has been established the remit and relevant documentation for each will be emailed out to the participants of each group.  It is my intention to go onto the work group that is looking at ways of working.  A separate additional work-stream has also been agreed to progress a change to standing orders at the National Retired Members’ Conference 2023 to allow caucuses of each of the four Retired Members’ SOGs to submit motions and amendments to the 2024 Conference and as a result of this it was agreed that one of the National Committee Members would work with a representative from the Islington LG Branch.  There has been a proposed Rule Change which will allow Retired Members to be able to seek election as Branch Treasurer.   This will be discussed at the next National Committee meeting which be held via zoom on 25th April.  


Future Events 

Tuesday 23 April - Committee Meeting- main item will be motions for National Retired Members Conference deadline 14 June 

Tuesday 16 July Committee Meeting- main item planning the Open meeting event for branches and amendments to Conference motions 

Tuesday 10 September - Open meeting 

Tuesday 8 October - Committee/delegates meeting at Conference  

Tuesday 26 November - Committee meeting- reviewing the year, agreeing the budget, planning the work programme,  evaluating regional performance at Conference and holding the annual lunch out.