Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Branches under regional supervision - for how much longer?

Yesterday's meeting of the UNISON NEC Development and Organisation (D&O) Committee considered, as it regularly does, a report on the small number of UNISON Branches under "Regional Supervision".

There are circumstances in which branches fail to function in accordance with UNISON Rules and in some of these the Committee Chair, on behalf of the NEC, authorises the Regional Secretary to take over the running of the branch.

In Greater London three local authority branches - in Bromley, Greenwich and Newham are being administered in this way.

I have previously made clear my reservations about the circumstances in which the Bromley and Greenwich branches were removed from the democratic control of their members this spring (http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/2010/03/unisons-suburban-sigurimi.html).

In relation to Newham branch, which has been in administration rather longer, the Chair gave the Committee news which was somewhat more reassuring than the written report from the Region which was before the Committee.

Whilst the Regional report did not offer any immediate prospect of restoration of normality, the Chair made clear that it was the expectation that the Branch would leave regional supervision soon and would hold an AGM in the normal way in the New Year.

Given the scale of the challenges now faced by UNISON and our members - and whatever judgement is made about the rights and wrongs of regional supervision in any particular case - it is vital that the return of these branches to normal lay democracy is expedited.

From a local point of view, the enthusiastic engagement of active members in the defence of public services depends in part upon the infrastructure of branch democracy.

From a Regional point of view, we need to deploy the resources currently swallowed up by Regional supervision to face the attacks from the Coalition Government.

Regional supervision should only ever be an exception - and a very temporary one. Now more than ever UNISON needs to remember this.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

nick venedi said...

Hi Jon,

You state, and I quote the last last paragraph of your thesis 'Regional supervision should only ever be an exception - and a very temporary one. Now more than ever UNISON needs to remember this.' does that mean that you do not exclude supervision? And if you don't under what circumstances would you advocate this? There are 154 branches in London and 3 are under supervision, is this, in your opinion, not a rare phenomenon? I am just trying to be clear as to what you mean? I don't know enough about the detail and specific circumstances of the 3 London branches to have a firm opinion but I would imagine they did something very wrong? I am against suspending local democracy but what did they do? Do you know the reasons?
Nick Venedi, fellow blogger ( as you call me..)