Thursday, April 19, 2007

Development and Organisation Committee...

I am on my way to today’s meeting of the UNISON National Executive Council, fresh from yesterday’s exciting gathering of the esteemed Development and Organisation Committee.

This was a brief meeting to agree recommendations to the NEC on policy for Conference motions and Rule Amendments and to agree amendments from the NEC itself.

Recommendations from the Chair were agreed. Most were not controversial and those that were were generally controversial with an argumentative minority of one (you're reading his blog…) In particular, proposals to limit the number of Conference motions from the NEC were derided as excessive - although I thought that there was a case for some more stringent limits than exist at present (none).

Today’s NEC has to decide to which one of its thirteen Conference motions it will not give one of its twelve “votes” in the prioritisation process (described here earlier). This wouldn't happen if the NEC faced some discipline in the number of motions it could put forward (which raises an interesting question about whether branches should face similar limits...)

The NEC is opposing both attempts by the Lambeth branch to press the case for the use of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) in national UNISON elections. Although there is a strong case in principle for the use of STV in such elections, some quite impressive practical objections can be raised in debate. (Although the objection that STV encourages the development of factions in the Union is a weak argument deployed simply to play to the prejudices of those in the Union who fail to recognise themselves as a faction...)

In particular, I would like to know more about whether STV contributed in any way to the low turn out in the recent elections in the University and Colleges Union (UCU) so that I can report back to the Lambeth branch. It would also be interesting to know from other UNISON activists if they have any strong feelings either way about the issue.

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