Union fees in retirement

Not sure if this is in the correct place but here goes.

I retired from teaching, taking my pension early when I was 56. I did a little bit of supply until just over two years ago. I reduced my union fees when I did supply and intended to stop paying altogether once fully retired. I am 62 now.

I cancelled my direct debit then got a letter from the union saying that I would not be covered for anything that might occur from my teaching days if I stopped paying, so I carried on with the retired person's rate. Not a fortune but around £32 per year.

I had a straightforward teaching career, attending some multi disciplinary meetings where decisions about pupils were made, nothing out of the ordinary.

Do I need to/should I continue paying my union fees? I get a monthly magazine which I rarely read properly these days.


  • NAR
    NAR Posts: 4,863 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Are you getting value for money? If not, unless you feel they done a brilliant job for you when working, then why would you continue paying?
  • Dunroamin
    Dunroamin Posts: 16,908 Forumite
    Do your subs get you access to any kind of benevolent fund or something similar?
  • scotsbob
    scotsbob Posts: 4,632 Forumite
    There is a whole clutch of people appearing out of the woodwork claiming they were abused way back in the 1970s.
    Assuming you weren't involved in any kiddy fiddling over the last 40 years then you are unlikely to need the services of the union's legal dept.
  • whitesatin
    whitesatin Posts: 2,088 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
    No benevolent fund as far as I know. I do get offers of cheaper insurance etc. but, to be honest, I always find cheaper elsewhere. I never had to use the legal services when I was working and as I have always been squeaky clean and hard working, I can't imagine needing them now.

    Value for money? As I said, I never really called upon them but it was always good to know the union was there should I need it. I suppose I could consider that my annual contribution is helping keeping costs down for others.

    Still undecided. Have until December to make up my mind.
  • Farway
    Farway Posts: 13,190 Forumite
    Homepage Hero First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    Not a teacher, but was for yeas in ETU, [Electrical trade union] for years, which over decades amalgamated and name changed eventually into Unite

    Once I retired I saw no reason or benefit of continuing subs to an organisation whose views and efforts, in the main, I do not support, so stopped

    Your union may not be the same of course

    PS My son is a teacher, just in case anyone thinks I am rabid Daily Wail reader
    Eight out of ten owners who expressed a preference said their cats preferred other peoples gardens
  • agrinnall
    agrinnall Posts: 23,344 Forumite
    First Post Combo Breaker
    If you have legal cover as part of your home insurance that should provide you with assistance on any employment issues, although it may not be as wide-ranging or knowledgeable as the cover your union offers.
  • Of course you should keep paying - can I quote from Wiki concerning the Gen Sec of the NUT ..............

    "Her basic pay was reported as being £103,000 in 2011. [39] Her basic pay was reported to have risen to £142,000 in 2012. [40] In 2013, Blower's pay rose again to £154,000"

    ........someone has to fund this :D
  • whitesatin
    whitesatin Posts: 2,088 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary
    You are so right, yangptangkipperbang, I wouldn't like to have to survive on such a low salary, lol.

    I have had a look at the union website and this appears to be their view on membership on retirement:

    If you undertake any teaching work, the say you should definitely remain a member and that if you leave the union, they will not be able to assist you with legal advice or support. This applies even if you are seeking help with an issue that dates back to the time when you were a member. I don't intend to work again and can't imagine needing legal advice regarding anything to do with my teaching years. My husband tells me we have legal advice through the home insurance but I need to look at that to see what it covers.

    Their magazine keeps you up to date with educational issues, should you wish to keep up to date. I am interested but can keep up to date through websites.

    They continue to offer various insurance discounts through companies but you can often (as I said above) find good deals yourself. It is the same with other negotiated discounts. I look for discounts myself, with help of these forums, of course.

    As a retired member you can go to them for advice on your pension but as mine is relatively straightforward, I have never had to ask them anything. The TPS themselves seem quite approachable.

    Apparently, a Trust Fund is also available to help you and your dependents, in times of illness or financial hardship.

    Hopefully I won't need that! But who knows?

    The jury is still out re continuing my contributions.
  • Stufrog
    Stufrog Posts: 26 Forumite
    Sorry if this off topic - (if it is I'll write a new thread).

    How much are the monthly [annual fee] directs debits for Unite? I am currently in GMB paying £11.70 per month but they've put up their subscription, out of principal I'm leaving.
  • Moto2
    Moto2 Posts: 2,206 Forumite
    Right on Unite's homepage there's a link entitled 'contribution rates' have you tried that?
    Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
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