Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Too busy for lay democracy?

Whenever two or more UNISON activists are gathered together you know we’ll end up complaining about how busy we are at some point, it’s right up there with other favourite discussion topics like “improbable victories at disciplinary hearings” and sharing good and bad information about senior HR managers as they progress between employers.

Well today we learned that our paid officials (and particularly our senior paid officials) are much busier than we are (so no doubt we should stop moaning!)

The UNISON Greater London Regional Office has today cancelled, with a little less than one day’s notice, tomorrow’s Annual Meeting of the UNISON Greater London Regional Local Government Committee because of ill health.

I understand that we need not fear that a bug has hit dozens of our staff - the ill health in question is only of a couple of key colleagues. I am sure that I will join with every other UNISON member in the Region in sending best wishes to colleagues who are unwell and wishing them a speedy return to good health.

There will be those who will be perplexed that the Region can find no other officials with appropriate seniority or experience to support the meeting proceeding as planned, bearing in mind that delegates representing 80,000 UNISON members in the local government service group in the Greater London Region will have made arrangements to attend.

Obviously without the presence of the Regional Head of Service Group it would not be possible to do everything as well as we would wish – some reports would have to have been deferred. However, any official could have sat beside the Chair and assisted with the basic business of the AGM (elections and so forth). I take it that most readers of this blog are union activists and will appreciate just what an extreme step it is to cancel an Annual Meeting, particularly of such a key Committee (meeting on the brink of a likely pay dispute in UNISON’s largest service group).

I don’t doubt that there will be those who will not receive the message about the cancellation of the meeting at such short notice in spite of the best efforts of the Regional Office to cancel the meeting.

Perhaps however we should be reassured and impressed that all the other members of our Regional Management Team and all of the many experienced and capable officials servicing our members in local government are so busy with work of vital importance that they cannot cancel their commitments tomorrow to enable the Annual Meeting of the Regional Local Government Committee to go ahead…

I really don’t quite know how to feel about this.


Anonymous said...

I am amazed that no competent official can be found to deal with some of the basics! So much for the undefined, constantly elusive and aspirational 'guaranteed minimum standards of service' in our rule book.

Perhaps we should just have the AGM on the same day as the Regional Council AGM ( obviously in the pm) like some of the other Service Groups -as we seem to be awash with officials then and it's still early enough in the year to ensure we can react to deadlines. Seems to me to be a win win situation in terms of cost efficiencies!

There does seem to be a bug going round though! But perhaps UNISON needs a regional resilience plan for such instances!kat

Snideshow Bob said...

And I thought that the Scottish Region was unhealthy, deep-fried mars bars aside! But even they wouldn't cancel an annual meeting of the local government service group. I'm not sure whether that is because Kirby would have the Regional Secretary's ass for grass......again! or whether there is truth in the rumour that Matt Smith does indeed have the teamworking skills of a mediaeval pope??!!