Letter to editor

Retirees’ rights and the union

I am very disappointed; well more than that; disgusted with the recent notice concerning retired status for members. Retirees are treated as if we don’t matter. Having to pay $150 for casual membership when one might only work a few days in the year is unfair. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) might want to consider that.

Another issue – if I have retired membership (oh, sorry I forgot I cannot be a member of the Union if I am retired according to the FWC) do I have full membership rights with any historical issues or accusations made against me now? It does happen as is illustrated by the high profile case underway currently. I know the leadership and the Union would always act in the best interest of its members.

I have been an active member of the Union for over 35 years. I don’t think I am being treated fairly with the FWC attitude. It was such a disappointment after working in the Industry for so long to be deprived of appropriate membership through some FWC ruling.

Really annoyed over this – am deciding whether to take a more active stance on the issue. I would appreciate if this letter could be published in the next Newsmonth to give support to the Union from a retiree point of view as against the view of the FWC.

Denis McHenry
Retired IEU Member

Editor’s response

We too were disappointed in the position taken by the FWC over retirees and their membership status. The core of the FWC interpretation is that once a member makes the decision to retire from the workforce they cease to be eligible to be members and cannot hold office or vote.

Our understanding is that even if an individual has stopped working in an educational setting they remain eligible for membership if they are still working or seeking work elsewhere. The ‘ruling’ seems to apply only to those who have ended all forms of paid employment.

The IEU has always valued that our members, even in retirement choose to stay closely aligned and supportive of their Union. We hope they continue to do that and we can continue to provide support for them.

Your letter rightly identifies that we have always and will continue to support, advise and where appropriate represent those who have historical matters. Even in retirement there are Union relationships of great value to retirees. The Welfare Rights Centre, that provides advice and assistance on social security matters is a case in point.

The IEU will continue to have a class of membership for retirees, will keep them up to date with news through our publications and provide services such as the above. Our view of the FWC decision is that we need to make those who are currently listed in the ‘Retired’ category aware of is that this category is for those not employed or seeking employment in paid work.