Wednesday, January 31, 2007

UNISON Conference motions

The UNISON NEC Development and Organisation Committee agreed on Tuesday to recommend four motions to go to National Delegate Conference on the following topics;

UNISON wide equality scheme;

Migrant workers;

Organising and recruiting;

Education and Training.

Moz Greenshields (East Midlands) complained about the practice of tabling draft Conference motions on the day of Committee meetings. This inexcusable practice has been common for some years and I regret to report that the majority of NEC members seem perfectly happy to agree motions drafted by officers “on the nod”.

I proposed an amendment to the motion on migrant workers to restate our Conference policy, developed in and moved by the Greater London Region in 2005, in favour of an amnesty for undocumented workers. The officer responsible for the motion (Liane Venner) explained that the motion was meant to address organising rather than policy issues, but as I felt that the motion did include policy issues I pushed the amendment to a vote. This was lost.

Of course NEC Conference motions are open to amendment from branches but I regret that the NEC motion fails to restate an important Conference policy, the commitment to which in some quarters of our Union I have questioned following our consistent refusal to put our policy to the TUC Congress in the past two years.

The Committee structure of the NEC - and the way in which motions (all of which are drafted by officers at Mabledon Place) notionally emerge from the Committees to go before the NEC can mean that topics which are relevant to the briefs of more than one main Committee do not get dealt with in a very satisfactory way.

In this case, the question of how to organise migrant workers and the question of what policy demands to make of Government are linked very closely. I personally hope that branches can use their right to amend motions to restore this link if the full NEC fails to do so.

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