Still others of us appear as witnesses in internal Unison disciplinary hearings.
As a result of this peculiar predilection on my part I have an unusual - some say unhealthy - interest in debates on Rule Amendments at Unison National Delegate Conference.
In this context (and as regular readers Sid and Doris Blogger will recollect my having promised to do) I have been looking at the Rule Amendments submitted to this year's Conference (and admitted to the agenda by the Standing Orders Committee).
I am immediately and immodestly struck by Rule Amendment 33 which seeks to introduce the issuing of disciplinary warnings into the Union's disciplinary procedure. Since it is now seven years since the Lambeth Branch last mobilised the simple majority necessary to amend Schedule D to the Rule Book I am hopeful that this sensible proposal will command support. It is obvious to me that such a power could often usefully be employed.
If you are reading this as a Unison activist expecting to be consulted about the prioritisation process then I commend to you Rule Amendment 33, as well as Rule Amendments 12,13 and 14 - which seek to impose a sensible and proportionate limit of 24 months on bans from holding office imposed under Rule I - and Rule Amendment 4 which this year gets right what last year was got wrong by our National Executive Council in seeking to exclude from membership of our Union members of those far right political parties who aspire to our destruction.
All Regions are asked to prioritise Rule Amendments as well as motions - and should consult branches as part of this process. Do not ignore the prioritisation of Rule Amendments - last year we lost some non controversial amendments because they were not prioritised above foolhardy NEC amendments presented in defiance of good advice from those with a sound sense of the will of Conference.
This year those who write NEC Conference submissions (a group by no means coterminous with the NEC!), have not repeated the errors of last year (assiduous readers of Conference agendas will note the absence of attempts - made last year - to remove from elected delegates to Service Group Conferences authority over negotiations on pay and conditions).
Therefore we must aim to prioritise for debate motions which can make a positive difference and - when it comes to Amendments to Rule - an amendment to Schedule (requiring as it does a simple rather than two thirds majority) is clearly attractive.
So - prioritise Rule Amendment 33!
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