Although the pesky questions of an NEC member are not worthy of response, our Regional Secretary has now written to all branches in London to explain that the Bromley, Greenwich and Tenant Services Authority branches have been taken under Regional supervision.
We are informed that the decision was taken under rule D2.1 and Rule G8.3.3. The first of these is just the general power of the NEC to take any action (subject to the Rules and Conference policy) and - since actions such as the cancellation of a branch Annual General Meeting breach the Rules - it is the latter Rule which really matters.
Rule G8.3.3 authorises a visit to a branch by an officer where (in the opinion of the General or Regional Secretary) it appears that a branch is not functioning effectively. It is in fact this Rule under which "Regional supervision" takes place.
I will blog in more detail about the uses and abuses of this Rule, but wish now to draw attention to a serious dilemma for Unison.
Up until last week, these three branches were not under Regional supervision. Therefore, up until last week, neither the General nor Regional Secretary had formed the view that any of these branches were "not functioning effectively" - but now they have formed that view.
What can have changed?
Well, up until last week each of the three branches had a Branch Secretary, elected according to rule, who faced discipline by the Union. Last week all three Branch Secretaries were banned from holding office.
So, whilst these branches were the responsibility of elected officers facing disciplinary action there was no problem and no need for Regional supervision, but - as soon as disciplinary action took effect and the officers who had been found to have breached our Rules were out of the way - then, and only then the branches were suddenly deemed not to be functioning effectively and to require Regional supervision.
If these branches did not require supervision two weeks ago they most certainly do not now.
This is all quite as nonsensical as it seems.
I think a certain arrogance from those who exercise power is to be expected (if never welcomed) but that the mixture of such arrogance with such foolishness leaves our Union looking really really daft (for further information on "really really daft" in relation to this and other issues see http://www.workers.org.uk/).
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