Monday, January 22, 2007

Lunch before pensions???

Thanks to Dorothy for a comment on an earlier post asking me about the Special Local Government Conference being called by UNISON on 6 March. I’ll return to this theme when there is more information about the motions coming up for debate from branches.

Dorothy asked whether the convening of a special conference is an embarrassment for the Union’s leadership. Technically this Conference is being convened in response to a request from the Service Group Executive (and therefore by the leadership). However, there is little doubt that this would not have happened had it not been for the very strong support for the separate requisition for a Special Conference initiated by the Kirklees branch. I understand that by the time the decision to agree the SGE request was made, the Kirklees requisition was well past the target it needed to reach.

Kirklees needed to gain the support of branches representing 25% of the membership of the Local Government Service Group (the local government section of UNISON) within a two month period. It is clear that they more than succeeded in this objective (branches with a membership of around 300,000 out of 800,000 is what I have heard). It is obvious that if branches and activists up and down the country were happy and relaxed about the way in which the dispute has been run up to now then they would not have supported the requisition for a Special Conference.

The Conference will take place on Tuesday 6 March at the Alexandra Palace. However, as I understand it, the current proposed start time for the Conference is 1pm, so quite how long we will have to debate the dispute over the Local Government Pension Scheme remains to be seen. I am sure that all activists would be sympathetic to any attempt to minimise the cost of a Special Conference, but it may prove a false economy to get us together only from lunchtime if the delegates don’t have time to get through the debate which needs to be had.

It’s the debate on pensions which we will be going to the Ally Pally to get our teeth into – not the over priced sandwiches…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh come on Jon be fair - If they've got to face those pesky memebrs who want them to get their fingers out and defend our pensions rather than cosying up to Brown and various other nu labour ministers - at least let them do it on a full stomach.