Saturday, July 11, 2009

A pedant writes...

As I explained earlier, I think that UNISON will be making a mistake if we fail to implement clear Conference policy in respect of our submissions to the 2009 TUC Congress.

I have therefore written to the General Secretary as follows (and await comments along the lines of the anatomical references offered to me in respect of previous correspondence on another matter by a senior officer);

“National Delegate Conference, in passing Composite D took a clear decision that UNISON should "bring a motion to the TUC calling on them to organise a united campaign in defence of final salary pension schemes in both the private and public sector."

Under Rule D.1.1 "The supreme government of the Union shall be vested in the National Delegate Conference." However, following Thursday's TUC delegation meeting the Union appears set to fail to implement this clear Conference decision.

The power to affiliate to the TUC and to determine arrangements for the delegation is given to the NEC by Rule D.2.9.7 and, in accordance with the preamble of Rule D.2.9 this is "part of" the general power of the NEC given by Rule D.2.1. This in turn is subject to the caveat that the NEC "shall not do anything that is inconsistent with... ...the policy of the Union as laid down at National Delegate Conference."

There is no Rule which permits the NEC to disregard, or to take into account only to a limited extent, Conference decisions about which the NEC itself had previously expressed some "qualification." The TUC Delegation does not itself have any particular standing under Rule and it must therefore operate in accordance with the Rule Book and hence the powers of the NEC(which is why the NEC was able, last year, to agree changes to the arrangements whereby previously individual members of the delegation had been able to table motions for discussion).

I am therefore writing to you, with copies to the President and to the Chair and Director of Policy, as a member of the NEC (sharing responsibility to see that the Union abides by Conference decisions) to request that you take urgent and appropriate action to avoid our acting in a manner which would be inconsistent with the policy of the Union laid down by National Delegate Conference 2009 when it agreed Composite D.

I look forward to hearing from you or from another appropriate colleague.”

Perhaps some other trade union will put a motion on the TUC agenda calling for a united fight to defend pensions across the private and public sectors, and UNISON can become part of a composite by way of an amendment, but strictly speaking we will have failed to implement Conference policy.

(Update on Sunday 12 July – check out this cogent argument for the defence of defined benefit pension schemes across the private and public sectors over at Ian’s UNITE Site.)

No comments: