Thursday, June 03, 2010

The incredible disappearing Congress

In response to a question from East Midlands NEC member Moz Greenshields, one of our General Council members advised today's meeting of the UNISON NEC of plans for the full traditional meeting of the Trades Union Congress to be biennial rather than annual.

There will be smaller, shorter meetings in alternate years at Congress House - we would have only 37 delegates (out of total of 305) at these smaller meetings (from 2011).

This plan has to go back to the TUC General Council but is likely to be agreed.

Since the Congress is hardly an effective device to hold the General Council to account (never mind "the office") this reduction in frequency is less of a threat to the democracy and governance of our movement than the late and unlamented notion of a biennial National Delegate Conference which was born - and died - in Mabledon Place a few years ago.

We were told that other unions, less financially secure than UNISON, were keen to save money by cutting back on Congress - but that savings accruing to the TUC would be earmarked for a "fighting fund."

Somehow I'm not convinced that too much accountability is a problem in our movement. The move away from an annual TUC may be a necessary recognition of weakness and decline, but that is what it is.

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