Monday, November 27, 2006

UNISON - Committee discusses Conference

In the third thrilling installment of the report from the November meeting of UNISON’s Development and Organisation Committee, the Committee turns its attention to the Union’s Conference…

The Committee had its annual debate about the structure of branch delegations to Conference and agreed to stick with the status quo (branches of more than 2,000 must send a low paid delegate, branches of more than 3,000 must send a young member, all branches should send black and minority ethnic (BME) delegates in proportion to their membership). We also agreed to encourage branches to include disabled members in their delegations.

I pointed out in the discussion on this item that the Chair of the National Black Members Committee had commented about the disparity between the treatment of young members’ and black members’ representation and was assured that a survey to be undertaken at the forthcoming National Black Members’ Conference would be the next step in seeking to assure fair representation for BME members.

Once more it was reported that only in the London Region are there a significant number of appeals. This probably reflects the relatively smaller proportion of low paid members amongst our membership in Greater London.

A related item was a report from the survey of delegates at last year’s Conference. The response rate to the monitoring forms issued at Conference has now risen above 80%. These demonstrate a continuing under representation of women, black members, young members and disabled members at Conference.

The Committee resolved that this should be addressed through the consistent application of the scheme of branch representation. As the scheme of branch representation has remained largely unchanged for several years this may not be a winning strategy, and we shall have to return to this issue. Branches may wish to consider this as a topic for Conference motions next year or in future years.

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